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E empire of Russia is the largest in the whole 
globe, extending from west to east upwards 
of two thousand common leagues of France,* and 
about eight hundred in its greatest breadth from 
morth to south. It borders upon Poland and the 
Frozen Sea, and joins to Sweden and China. Its 
length from the island of Dago, in the western- 
most part of LJTonia, to its most eaateiu limits, 
takes in near one hundred and seventy degrees, 
BO that when it is noon in the western parts of the 
empire, it is nearly midnight in the eastern. Ita 
breadth from north to south is three thousand six 
hundred wersts, which make eight hundred and 
fifty of our common French leagues. 

The limits of 'iiis country were so little known 
in the last century, that, in 1689, when it was re- 
ported, that the Chinese and the P.ii3?ians ware 
at war, and that in order to terminate their Qif- 
ferences, the emperor Camhi on the one hand, anl 
tlie czars Ivan or John, and Peter, on the other, 
had sent their ministers to meet an embassy with- 
in three hundred leagues of Pekin, on the frontiers 
of the two empires, the account was at first treated 
as a fiction. 

The country now comprehended under the name 

* A French league contains three English miles. 



of Russia, or the Russias, is of a greater extent 
than all the rest of Europe, or than ever the Roman 
empire was, or that of Darius subdued by Alex- 
ander ; for it contains upwards of one million one 
hundred thousand square leagues. Neither the 
Roman empire, nor that of Alexander, contained 
more than live hundred and fifty thousand each ; 
and there is not a kingdom in Europe the twelfth 
part so extensive as trie Roman empire ; but to 
make Russia as populous, a? plentiful, and as well 
stored with towns as our southern countrie.-, would 
require whole ages, and a race of monarchs such 
as Peter the Great. 

The English ambassador, who resided at Peters- 
burg in 1733, and who had been at iMadrid, says, 
in his manuscript relation, that in Spain, which 
is the least populous state in Europe, there may 
be reckoned forty persons to every square mile, 
and in I'ussia not above five. We shall see in 
the second chapter, whether this minister was 
mistaken, Marshal Vauban, the greatest of en- 
gineers, and the best of citizens, computes, that, 
in France, every square mile contains two hun- 
dred inhabitants. These calculations are never 
very exact, but they serve to shew the amazing 
disproportion in the population of two different 

1 shall observe here, that from Petersburg to 
Pekin, there is hardly one mountain to be met with 
in the route which the caravans might take through 
independent Tartary, and that from Petersburg 
to the north of France, by the road of Dantzic, 
Hamburg, and Amsterdam, there is not even a 
hill of any eminence to be seen. This observa- 
tion leaves room to doubt of the truth of that 
^eory, which makes the mountains to have been 
formed by the rolling of the waves of the sea, and 
supposes all that is at present dry land, to have 


been for a long time covered with water : but how 
comes it to pass, that the waves, which, according 
to the supposition, formed the Alps, the Pyrenees, 
and Mount Taurus, did not likewise form some 
eminence or hill from Normandy to China, which 
is a winding space of above three thousand 
leagues ? Geography, thus considered, may fur- 
nish lights to natural philosophy, or at least give 
room for rational doubts. 

Formerly we called Russia by the name of Mus- 
covy, from the city of Moscow, the capital of that 
empire, and the residence of the grand dukes : but 
at present the ancient name of Russia prevails. 

It is not my business in this place to inquire, 
why the countries from Smolensko, to the other 
side of Moscow, were called White Russia, or 
why Hubner gives it the name of Black, nor for 
what reason the government of Kiow should be 
named lied Russia, 

It is very likely that Madies the Scythian, who 
made an irruption into Asia, near seven hundred 
years before our vulgar a;ra, might have carried 
his arms into these regions, as Gengis-Khan and 
Tamerlane did afterwards, and as probably others 
had done long before Madies. P^ery part of 
antiquity is not deserving of our inquiries ; that 
of the Chinese, the Indians, the Persians, and the 
Egyptians, is ascertained from illustrious and in- 
teresting monuments ; but these monuments sup- 
pose others of a far more ancient date, since it 
required many ages to teach men the art of trans- 
mitting their thoughts by permanent signs, and 
no less time was required to form a regular lan- 
guage ; and yet we have no such monuments even 
in this polite part of Tvurope. The art of writing 
was a long time unknown to all the North : the 
patriarch Constantine, who wrote the history of 
Kiow in the Russian language, acknowledges, 


that the use of ■aTiting was LOt known in thcsa 
countries in the fifth century. 

Let others examine whether the Huns, the 
Slari, and the Tartars, formerly led their wander- 
ing and famished tribes towards the source of the 
Boristhenes ;* my design is to shew what czar 
peter created, and not to en-'age in a useless 
attempt, to clear up the chaos of antiquity. We 
should always keep in mind, that no family upon 
earth knows its first founder, and consequentlv, 
that no nation knows its first origin. 

I use the name of Russians to designate the in- 
habitants of this great empire. That of Roxola- 
nians, which was formerly given them, would in- 
deed be more sonorous, bur. we shall conform to 
the custom of the language in which we write. 
News-papers and other memoirs have for some 
time used the word Russians ; but as this name 
comes too near to that of Prussians, I sliall abide 
by that of Russ, which almost all our writers have 
given them. Besides, it appeared to me, that the 
most extensive people on the earth ought to be 
known by some appellation that may distinguish 
them absolutely from all other nations. t 

This empire is at present divided into sixteen 
large governments, that will one day be sub- 
divided, when the northern and eastern countries 
come to be more inhabited. 

• The Boristhenes, or Dnieper, is one of the largest 
rivers in Europe ; it rises in the Walchonske Forest, runs 
through Lithuania, the country of the Zoporag Cossacks, 
and that of the Kagicch Tartars, and falls into the Black 
Sea near Oczakow. It has thirteen cataracts within a 
imal! distance. 

t The reader will easily perceive, that the whole of this 
paragraph relates only to the French language, for in 
Engli&b we make no such distinctions in the name of tbeM 
peoplo. but always call them Russians. 


These sixteen governments, which contain se> 
»eral immense provinces are the following : — • 


The nearest province to our part of the world 
is that of Livonia, one of the most fruitful in the 
vhole North. In the twelfth century the inhabi- 
tants were pagans ; at this time certain merchants 
of Bremen and Lubeck traded to this country, and 
a body of religious crusaders, called port-glaives, 
or sword bearers, who were afterwards incorpo- 
rated in the Teutonic order, made themselves 
masters of this province in the thirteenth century, 
at the time when the fury of the crusades armed 
the Christians against every one who was not of 
their religion. Albert, margrave of Brandenburg, 
grand-master of these religious conquerors, made 
himself sovereign of Livonia and of Branden- 
burg-Prussia, about the year 1514. From that 
time, the Russians and Poles began to dispute for 
the possession of this province Soon afterwards 
it was invaded by the Swedes, and for a long 
while continued to be ravaged by these several 
powers. Gustavus Adolphus having conquered 
it, it was then ced#d to the Swedes in 1660, by 
the famous treaty of Oliva ; and, at length, c/.ar 
Peter wrested it from these latter, as will be seen 
in the course of this history. 

Courland, which joins to Livonia, is still in 
Tassalage to Poland, though it depends greatly 
upon Russia. These are the western limits of 
this empire in Christendom. 

Of the Govrrnmentu of 

More northward is the government of Revel and 
Esthonia. Revel was built bj the Danes iathe 


thirteenth centurj. The Swedes were in posses- 

eion of this province, from the time that country 
put itself under the protection of that crown in 
1561. This is another of the conquests of Peter 
the Great. 

On the borders of Esthonia lies the gulf of 
Finland. To the eastward of this sea, and at the 
junction of the Neva with the lake Ladoga,* is 
situated Petersbvirg, the most modem and best 
built city in the whole empire, fcmded by czai 
Peter, in Bjjite of all the united obstacles which 
opposed its foundation. 

This city is situated on the bay of Kronstat, in 
the midst of nine rivers, by which its different 
quarters aie divided. In the centre of this city 
is almost an impregnable fortress, built on an 
i^land, formed by the main-stream of the river 
Neva : seven canals are cut from the rivers, and 
wash the walls of one of the royal palaces of the 
admiralty, of the dock-yard for the galleys, and 
of several buildings of manufactories. Thirty-five 
large churches contribute to adorn the city ; among 
which five are allotted for foreigners of the Roman 
Catholic. Calvmist, and Lutheran religions : these 
are as so many temples raised to toleration, and 
examples to other nations. 1 heVe are five palaces; 
the old one, called the summer palace, situated 
on the river Neva, has a very large and beautiful 
stone balustrade, which runs all along the river 
side. The new summer palace near the triumphal 
gate, is one of the finest pieces of architecture in 
Europe ihe admiralty buildings, the school for 
cadets, the imperial college, the academy of 
sciences, the exchange, and the merchants' ware- 
houses, are all magnificent structures, and monu- 

• A collection of water lying between the gulf of Fin. 
land and lake Onega ; it is the largest, and said to contaiD 
a greater number of fish than any other in Europe, 


merits of taste and public utility. The town-house, 
the public dispensary, where all the vessels are 
of procelain, the court magazines, the foundery, 
the arsenal, the bridges, the markets, the squares, 
the barracks for the horse and foot guards, con- 
tribute at once to the embellishment and safety 
of the city, which is said to contain at present 
four hundred thousand souls. In the environs of 
the city are several villas or country-seats, which 
surprise all travellers by thtir magnificence. 
There is one in particular which has water-works 
superior to those of Versailles. There was no- 
thing of ail this in 1702, the whole being then an 
impassable morass. Petersburg is considered as 
the capital of Ingria, a small province subdued 
by Peter I. Wyburg, another of his conquests, 
and that part of Finland which was lost, and ceded 
by the Swedes in 1742, make another govern- 


Higher up, proceeding towards the north, is 
the province of Archangel, a country entirely new 
to the southern nations of Europe. It took its 
name from St. Michael, the Archangel, under 
whose patronage it was put long after the Rus- 
sians had embraced Christianity, which did not 
happen till the beginning of the eleventh cen- 
tury ; and they were not known to the other na- 
tions of Europe till the middle of the sixteenth. 
The English, in 1633, endeavouring to find out a 
north-east jtassageto the East Indies, Chancellor, 
captain of one of the ships fitted out for this ex- 
pedition, discovered the port of Archangel in the 
White Sea ; at that time it was a desert place, 
having only one convent, and a little church, de» 
dicated o St. Michael, the Archangel. 


The Fngiish sailing up the river DNvina,* nr* 
rived at the midland part of the country, and at 
lengtb at .Moscow. Here tbey easily made them- 
selves masters of the trade of Russia, wliich waa 
removed from the city of Novogorod, where it 
was carrit^ii on by land to this sea-port, which is 
inaccessible indeed during seven months in the 
year ; iiut, nevertheless, this trade proved more 
beneficial to the empire than the fairs of Novo- 
gorod, that had fallen to decay in consequence 
of the \v:iTs with Sweden. The English obtained 
the pri ilege of trading thither without paying 
any duiies : a manner of trading which is appa- 
rently the most beneficial to all nations. The 
Dutch soon came in for a share of the trade of 
Archangel, then unknown to other nations. 

Long before this time, the Genoese and Vene- 
tians had established a trade with the Russians 
by the nic ath of the Tanais or Don.t where thej 
had built a town called Tana. This branch of 
the Italian commerce was destroyed by the ra- 
vages of Tamerlane, in that part of the world : 
but that of Archangel continued, with great ad- 
vantages l)oth to the English and Dutch, till the 
time that Peter the Great opened a passage into 
his dominions by the Baltic Sea. 

* We mnst not confound this river with another of 
the same name that runs through Lithuania in Poland, 
and dividing Livonia and Courland, fails icto the Baltio 
tt Dunamunder fort, below Riga. 

t 1 his was Dv the ancients reckoned among; the meet 
famons ri-^ers in the world, and the boundary between 
Asia and Europe. It issues from St. John's Lake, not 
far from Tula, aod after a long course, divides itself iate 
three arms, and falls into the sea below Aaoph. 



Of the Government of Arrhaitget. 

To the west of Archangel, and within its go- 
Terninent, lies Russian Lapland, the third part 
of this country, the other two belonging to Sweden 
and Denmark. This is a very large tract, oc- 
cupying about eight degrees of longitude, and ex- 
tending in latitude from one polar circle to the 
North Cape.* The natives of this country were 
confusedly known to the ancients, under the 
name of troglodytes and northern pigmies ; ap- 
pellations suitable enough to men, who, for the 
most part, are not above four feet and a half high, 
and dwell in caverns ; they are just the same 
people they were at that time. They are of a 
tawny complexion, though the other people of 
the north are white, and for the most part very 
low in stature ; though their neighbours, and the 
people of Iceland, under the polar circle, are tall : 
they seem made for their mountainous country, 
being nimble, squat, and robust ; their skins are 
hard, the better to resist the cold, their thighs 
and legs are slender, their feet small, to enable 
them to run more nimbly amongst the rocks, 
with which their province is covered. They are 
passionately fond of their own country, which 
none but themselves can be pleased with, and 
are able to live no where else. Some have 
aflSrmed, upon the credit of Olaus, that these 
people were originally natives of Finland, And 
thai they removed into Lapland, where they di- 
minished in stature : but why might they not as 
well have made choice of lands less northerly, 
where the conveniences of life were to be bad in 

* A promontory of the island of Maggern in the north 
of Monraj, and i» the moit northern point in Europe. 


greater plentv ? How comes it that they differ so 
totally from their pretended ancestors in features, 
figure, and complexion t Methinks we might, with 
as great reason, suppose that the grass which 
grows in Lapland is produced from that of Den- 
mark, and that the fishes, peculiar to their lakes, 
came from those of Sweden. It is most likely 
that the Laplanders are, like their animals, the 
produce of their own country, and that nature 
has made the one for the other. 

Those who inhabit the frontiers of Finland, 
have adopted some of the expressions of their 
neighbours, as happens to every people : but 
when two nations give to things of common use, 
to objects which are continually before their eyes, 
names absolutely different, it affords a strong 
presumption, that one of them is not a colony 
from the other. The Finlanders call a bear 
Karu, the Laplanders Muriet : the sun in the 
Finnish language is called Auringa, in the Lap- 
land tongue Beve. Here is not the least ana- 
logy. The inhabitants of Finland, and Swedish 
Lapland, formerly worshipped an idol whom 
they called lumalac, and since the reign of Gus- 
tavus Adolphus, to whom they are indebted for 
the appellation of Lutherans, they call Jesus Christ 
the son of lumalac. The Muscovite or Mus- 
sian Laplanders, are at present thought to be of 
the Greek church ; but those who wander about 
the mountains of the North Cap^, are satisfied 
with adoring one God under certain rude forms, 
as has been the ancient custom of all the nations 
called N(^mades, or wandering nations. 

This race of people, who are inconsiderable in 
numbers, have but very few ideas, and are happy 
in not having more, which would only occasion 
them to have new wants which they could not 
satisfy : at present they live contented, and free^ 


from diseases, notwithstanding the excessive 
coldness of their climate ; they drink nothing 
but water, and attain to a great age. The cus- 
tom imputed to them of entreating strangers to 
lie with their wives and daughters, which they 
esteem as an honour done to them, probably arose 
from a notion of the si:periority of strangers, and 
a desire of amending, by their means, the de- 
fects of their own race. This was a custom es- 
tablished amongst the virtuous Lacedemonians, 
A husband would entreat a favour of a comely 
young man, to give him handsome children, whom 
he might adopt. Jealousy, and the laws, pre- 
vent the rest of mankind from giving their wives 
up to the embraces of another ; but the Lap- 
landers have few or no laws, and are in all pro- 
bability, strangers to jealousy. 


Ascending the river Dwina from north to south, 
we travel up the country till we come to Moscow, 
the capital of the empire. This city was long 
the centre of the Russian dominions, before they 
were extended on the side of China and Persia. 

Moscow, lying in 55 degrees and a half, north 
latitude, in a warmer climate, and more fruitful 
soil than that of Petersburg, is situated in the 
midst of a large and delightful plain on the river 
Moskwa, and t\*o lesser rivers, which with the 
former lose themselves in the Occa, and after- 
wards help to swell the stream of the Wolga. 
This city, in the ISth century, was only a col- 
lection of hats inhabited by a set of miserable 
wretches, oppressed by the descendants of Gengis 

The Kremlin, or ancient palace of the great 
dakes, was not built till the Hth century; of 
such modern date are cities in this part of the 


world. This oalace was built by Italian archi- 
tects, as -were several churches in the Gothic 
taste which then prevailed throughout all Eurojw;. 
There are two built by the famous Aristotle, of Bo- 
logna, who flourished in the 13th century ; but thr 
private houses were no better than wooden huts. 

The first writer who brought us acquaiutfd 
with Moscow, was Olearius ; who, in 163r), wett 
thither as the companion of an embassy from the 
duke of Holstein. A native of Holstein must 
naturally be struck with wonder at the immense 
extent of the city of Moscow, with its five quar- 
ters, especially the magnificent one belonging to 
the czars, and with the Asiatic splendour which 
then reigned at that court. There was nothing: 
equal to it in Germany at that time, nor any city 
by far so extensive or well peopled. 

On the contrary, the earl of Carlisle, who was 
ambassador from Charles II. to the czar Alexis, 
in 163:'>, complains i . his relation that he could 
not meet with any one convenience of life in Mop- 
cow ; no inns on the road, nor refreshments of 
any kind. One judged as a German, the otht-r 
as an Englishman, and both by comparison. The 
Englishman was shocked to see mosi of the Boy- 
ards or Muscovite noblemen, sleep upon boards 
or benches, with only the .skins of animals under 
them ; but this was the ancient practice of ali 
nations. The houses, whicii were almost all built 
of wood, had scarcely any furniture , few or none 
of their tables were covered with cloth ; there 
was no pavement in the streets ; nothing agree- 
able ; nothing convenient ; very few artificers, and 
those few extremely awkward, and employed 
only in works of absolute necessity. These people 
might have passed for Spartans, had they been 

But, on public days, the court displays all the 


Bplendour cf a Persian monarch. The earl says, 
he could see nothing but gold and precious stones 
on the robes of the czar and his courtiers. These 
dresses were not manufactured in the country ; 
and yet, it is evident, that the people might be 
rendered industrious long before that time. In 
the reign of the czar Boris Godonow, the largest 
bell was cast at Moscow, in Europe ; and in the 
patriarchal church there were several ornaments 
in silver, worked in a very curious manner. 
These pieces of workmanship, which were made 
under the direction of Germans and Italians, 
were only transient efforts. It is daily industry, 
and the continual exercise of a threat number of 
arts, that makes a nation flourishing. Poland, 
and the neighbouring nations, were at that time 
very little superior to the Russians. The handi- 
craft trades were not in greater perfection in the 
north ot Germany, nor were the polite arts much 
better known, than in the middle of the seven- 
teenth century. 

Though the city of Moscow, at that time, had 
neither the magnificence nor arts of our great 
cities in Europe, yet its circumference of twenty 
miles ; the part called the Chinese town, where 
all the rarities of China are exhibited ; the spa- 
cious quarter of the Kremlin, where stood the 
palace of the czars ; the gilded domes, the lofty 
and conspicuous turrets; and, lastly, the prodi- 
gious number of its inhabitants, amounting to 
near 500, ()()(). All this together, rendered Mos- 
cow one of the most considerable cities in the 

Theodore, or Fccdor, eldest brother to Peter 
the Great, began to improve .Moscow. He or- 
dered several large houses to be built of stone, 
though without any regular architecture. He 
encouraged the principal persons of his court to 


build, advancing them sums of money, and fur- 
nishing ihem with materials. He was the first 
who collected studs of fine horses, and made se- 
veral useful embellishments. Peter, who was 
attentive to every thing, did not neglect Moscow 
at the time he was building Petersburg ; for he 
caused it to be paved, adorned it with noble edi- 
fices, and enriched it with manufactures ; and, 
within these few years, M. de Showalow, high 
chamberlain to the empress Elizabeth, daughter 
to Peter the Great, has founded an university in 
this city. This is the same person who furnished 
me with the memorials, from which 1 have com- 
piled the present history, and who was himself 
much more capable to have done it, even in the 
French language, had not his great modesty de- 
termined him to resign the task to me, as will 
evidently appear from his own letters on this sub- 
ject, which 1 have deposited in the public library 
of Geneva. 


Westward of the duchy of Moscow, is that of 
Smolensko, a part of the ancient Sarmatia Eu- 
ropea. The duchies of Moscow and Smolensko 
composed what is properly called White Russia. 
Smolensko, which at first belonged to the great 
dukes of Russia, was conquered by the great duke 
of Lithuania, in the beginning of the fifteenth 
century, and was retaken one hundre-l years af- 
terwards by its old masters. Sigismund 111. king 
of Poland, got possession of it in 1611. 'i'he czar 
Alexis, father of Peter I. recovered it again in 
1654, since which time it has always constituted 
part of the Russian empire. 1 he panegyric of 
Peter the Great, pronounced iu the academy 
of sciences at Paris, takes notice, that before 
his time the Russians had made no conquests 


either to the west or south ; but this is evidently 
a mistake. 

Of the Governments of 

Between Petersburg and Smolensk©, lies the 
province of Novogorod ;* and is said to be the 
country in which the ancient Sluvi, or Sclavo- 
nians, made their first settlements. But from 
wjjence came these Sla>:i, whose language has 
•pread over all the north-east part of Europe 1 
SLa signifies a chief, and blare one belonging to a 
chief. All that we know concerning these an- 
cient Slaves is, that they were a race of conquer- 
ors ; that they buiit the city of Novogorod the 
Great, at the head of a navigable river ; and that 
this city was for a long time in possession of a 
flourishing trade, and was a potent ally to the 
Hanse Towns. Czar Iwan Wassiliawitsch (or 
John Basilowitz) made a conquest of it in 1467, 
and carried away all its riches, which contri- 
buted to the magnificence of the court of Moscow, 
till then almost unknown; 

'I'o the south of the province of Smolensko, we 
meet with the province of Kiow, otherwise called 
the Lessor Russia, lied Russia, or the Ukraine, 
through which runs the Dnieper, called by the 
Greeks the Boristhenes. The difference of these 
two names, the one so harsh to pronounce, and 
the other so melodious, served to shew us, toge- 
ther with a hundred other like instances, the 
rudeness of all the ancient people of the North, 
in comparison with the graces of the Greek lan- 
guage. Kiow, the capital city, formerly Kisow, 
was built by the emperors of Constantinople, who 
made it a colony : here are still to be seen seve- 

• GrodjOr gorod.iignifiescil^' in iLe Russian laiiguagp. 


ral Greek inscriptions upwards of t« elve hundred 
years old. 'ibis is the only city of any antiquity 
iu these countries, where men lived so long to- 
gether without building walls. Hrre it was that 
the great dukes of Russia held their residence 
in the eleventh century, before the Tartars brought 
it under their subjection. 

The inhabitants of theUkraine.calledCossacks, 
are a mixture of the ancient Roxolaniacs, Sar- 
matiaiis, and I'artars, blended together. Rome 
and Constantinople, though so long the mistress 
of other nations, are not to compare in fertility 
of country with the Ukraine. Nature has there 
exerted her utmost efforts for the service of man- 
kind ; but they have not seconded those efforts 
by industry, living only upon the spontaneous 
productions of an uncultivated, but fruitful soil, 
and the exercise of rapine. Though fond, to a 
degree of enthusiasm, of that most valuable of all 
blessings, liberty ; yet they were always in sub- 
jection, either to the Poles or to the Turks, till 
the year 1654, when they threw themselves into 
the arms of Russia, but with some limitations. 
At length thev were entirely subdued by Peter 
the Great. 

Other nations are divided into cities and tovtus; 
this into ten regiments. At the head of which 
is a chief, who used to be elected by a majority 
of votes, and is called by the name of Hetman, 
or Itman. This captain of the nation was not 
invested with supreme power. At present the 
itman is a person nominated by the czar, from 
among the great lords of the court ; and is, in 
fact, no more that the governor of the province, 
like governors of the pays d'etats in France, that 
have retained some privileges. 

At first the inhabitants of this country were 
ail either Pagans or Mahometans; but, when 


they entered into the service of Poland, they 
were baptized Cliristians of the Roman commu- 
nion ; ajd now, that they are in the service of 
Russia, they belong to the Greek church. 

Amongst these are comprehended the Zapora- 
vian Cossacks, who are much the same as our 
Bucaniers, or freebooters, living upon rapine. 
They are distinguished from all other people, by 
never admitting women to live among them ; as 
the Amazons are said never to have admitted any 
man. 1 he women, whom they make use of for 
propagation, live upon other islands on the river; 
they have no marriages amongst them, nor any 
domestic economy ; they inroll the male chil- 
dren in their militia, and leave the girls to the 
care of their mothers. A brother has frequently 
children by his sister, and a fa 'her by his daughter. 
They know no other laws than customs, intro- 
duced by necessity : however, they make use of 
some prayers from the Greek ritual. Fort St. 
Elizabeth has been lately built on the Boristhenee, 
to keep them in awe. They serve as irregulars 
in the Russian armies, and hapless is the fate of 
those who fail into their hands. 

Of the Governments of 

To the noith-east of the province of Kiow, be- 
tween the boristhenes and the Tanais, or Don, 
is the government of Belgorod, which is as large 
as that of Kiow. This is one of the most fniitful 
provinces of Russia, and furnishes Poland with 
a prodigious number of that large cattle known 
bj the name of Ukraine oxen. These two pro- 
vinces are secured from the incursions of the 
petty Tartar tribes, by lines extending from the 
Boristhenes to the Tanais, and well furnished 
with forts and redoubts. 


Farther nortliward we cross the Tanais, and 
come into the government of Worownitz, or Ve- 
ronise, which extends as far as the bai-.ks of the 
Palus Ma^otis. In the neighbourhood of the ca- 
pital of this province, which is called, by the 
Russians, the mouth of the river 
of the same name, which falls into the Don, 
Peter the Great built his first fleet; an undertaking 
which was at that time entirely new to the in- 
habitants of these vast dominions. From thenco 
we come to the government of Nischgorod, 
abounding with grain, and is watered by the river 


From the latter province we proceed southward 
to the kingdom of Astracan. 'i'his country 
reaches from forty-three and a half degrees 
north latitude (in a most delightful climate) to 
near fifty, including about as many degrees of 
longitude as of latitude. It is bounded on one 
side by the Caspian Sea, and on the other by the 
mountains of Circassia, projecting beyond the 
Caspian, along mount Caucasus. It is watered 
by the great river Woiga, the Jaick, and several 
other lesser streams, between which, accord- 
ing to I\Ir. Perry, the English engineer, canals 
might be cut, that would serve as reservoirs to 
receive the overflowing of the waters ; and by 
that means answer the same purposes as the 
canals of the Nile, and make the soil more 
fruitful : but to the right and left of the Wolga 
and Jaick, this fine country was inhabited, or 
rather infested, by Tartars, who never apply 
themselves to agriculture, but have always lived 
as strangers and sojourners upon the face of the 

The above named engineer, Perry, who was 


employed by Peter the Great in these parts, found 
a vast track, of land covered with pasture, le^- 
minous plants, cherry and almond trees, and 
large flocks of wild sheep, who fed in these so- 
litary places, and whose flesh was excellent. The 
inhabitants of these countries must be conquered 
and civilized, in order to second the efforts of 
nature, who has been forced in the climate of 

The kingdom of Astracan is a part of the an- 
cient Capshak, conquered by Gengis-KKan, and 
afterwards bv Tamerlane, whose dominion ex- 
tended as far as Moscow. The czar, John 
Basilides, grandson of John Basilowitz, and the 
greatest conqueror of all the Russian princes, 
delivered his country from the Tartarian yoke, 
in the sixteenth century, and added the kingdom 
of Astracan to his other conquests, in lr)54. 

Astracan is the boundary of Asia and Europe, 
and is so situated as to be able to carry on a 
trade with both ; as merchandizes may be con- 
veyed from tlie Caspian Sea, up to this town, by 
means of tlie Wolga. This was one of the grand 
schemes of Peter the Great, and has been partly 
carried into execution. An entire su-burb of As- 
tracan is inhabited by Indians. 


To the south-east of the kingdom of Astracaa 
ift a small country, newly planted, called Orem- 
burg. Ihe town of this name was built in the 
year 1731, on the banks of the river Jaick. This 
province is thick covered with hills, that are 
parts of Mount Caucasus. The passes in these 
mountains, and of the rivers that run down from 
them, are defended by forts raised at e()ual dis- 
tances. In this rtgion, formerly uninhabited, 
\he Persians come it present, to hide from the 


rapacity of robbers, such of their effects as have 
CBcapc-d the fury of the civil wars. Tlie ritj of 
Oreiubiirg is become the asylum of the Persians 
and their riches, and is grown considerable by 
their calamities. The natives of Great Bukari 
come huher to trade, so that it is become the 
mart of Asia. 

Of the Government of 

Beyond the Wolga and Jaick, towards the 
north, lies the kingdom of Casan, which, like that 
of Astracan, fell by partition to one of the sons 
of Gengis Khan, and afterwards to a sou of Ta- 
merlane, and was at length conquered by John 
Basilides. It is still inhabited by a number of 
Mahometan Tartars. This vast country stretches 
aa far as Siberia ; it is allowed to have been for- 
merly very flourishing and rich, and still retains 
some part of its pristine opulence. A province 
of this kingdom, called Great Permia, and since 
Solikam, was the staple for the merchandizes of 
Persia, and the furs of Tartary. i here has 
been found in Permia a great quantity of the 
coin of the first Caliphs, and some Jartarian 
idols, made of gold ;* but these monuments of 
ancient opulence were found in the midst of bar- 
ren deserts and extreme poverty, where there 
were not the least traces of commerce : revolu- 
tions of this nature may easily happen to a barren 
countrv, seeing they are so soon brought about 
in the most fruitful provinces. 

The famous Swedish prisoner, Strahlemberg, 
who made such advantageous use of his misfor- 
tunes, and who examined those extensive coun- 
tries with so much attention, was the first who 
• Memoirs of Strahlemberg, confirmed by 
thoge sent me from Russia. 


rave an air of probability to a fact, whicb before 
had beea always thougbt incredible ; namely, 
concerning the ancient commerce of these pro- 
vinces. Piiuy and Pomponius Mela relate, that, 
in the reign of Augustus, a king of the Suevi 
made a present to Metellus Celer of some In- 
dians who had been cast by a storm upon the 
coasts bordering on the Elbe. But how couJd 
inhabitants of India navigate the Germanic seas 1 
This adventure was deemed fabulous by all our 
moderns, especially after the change made in the 
commerce of our hemisphere by the discovery of 
the Cape of Good Hope. But formerly it was 
no more extraordinary to see an Indian trading 
to the parts to the north-west of his country, than 
to see a Roman go from India by the way of 
Arabia. The Indians went to Persia, and thence 
embarked on the Hyrcanian Sea, and ascending 
the Rha, now the Wolga, got to Great Permia 
through the river Kama ; from whence they 
might take shipping again on the Black Sea, or 
the Baltic. They have, in all times, been enter- 
prising men. The Tyrians undertook most sur- 
prising voyages. 

If after surveying all these vast provinces, we 
direct our view towards the cast, we shall find 
the limits of Europe and Asia again confounded. 
A new name is wanting for a considerable part 
of the globe. The ancients divided their known 
world into Kurope, Asia, and Africa; but they 
had not seen the tenth part of it : hence it hap- 
pens, that when we pass the Palus Rlieotis we 
are at a loss to know where Europe ends, or 
Asia begins ; all that tract of country lying bo- 
jfond mount Taurus was distinguished by the 
general appellation of Scythia, and afterwards by 
that of Tartary. It might not be improper, per- 
haps, to give the name of Terra; Arctic3>, or 


Northern Lands, to the coantry extending from the 
Baltic Sea to the confines of China ; as that of 
Terras Australes, or Southern Lands, are to that 
equally extensive part of the world, situated un- 
der the Antarctic Pole, and which serves to 
counterpoise the globe. 

Of the Governments of 

Siberia, with the territories beyond it, extends 
from the frontiers of the provinces of Archangel, 
Casan, and Astracaa, eastward as far as the sea 
of Japan : it joined the southern parts of Russia 
by Mount Caucasus ; from thence, to the country 
of Kamtshatka, is about one thousand two hun- 
dred computed French leagues ; and from south- 
em Tartary, which serves as its boundary, to the 
Frozen Sea, about four hundred, which is the 
least breadth of the Russian empire. This coun- 
try producevS the richest furs ; and this occasion- 
ed the discovery of it in the year 1563. 

In the sixteenth century, in the reign of the 
cxar, John Basilides, and not in that of Foedor. 
Johannowitz, a private person in the neighbour- 
hood of Archangel, named Anika, one tolerably 
richforhis condition of life and country, took notice 
that certain men of an extraordinary figure, and 
dressed in a manner unknown to that country, and 
who spoke a language understood by none but 
themselves, came every year down a river which 
falls into the Uwina,* and brought martins and 
black foxes, which they trucked for nails and pieces 
of glass ; just as the first savages of America used 
to exchange their gold with the Spaniards: he 
caused them to be followed by his sons and ser- 
vants, as far as their own country. Theae wero 
• Memoirs sent from Petersburg. 


the Saraojedes, a people who seem to resemble 
the Laplanders, but are of a different race. They 
are, like that people, unacquainted with the use 
of bread ; and like them, they yoke rein-deer to 
draw their sledges. They live in caverns and 
huts, amidst the snow ; * but in other respec-ts, 
nature has made a visible difference between this 
species of men and the Laplanders. Their upper 
jaw projects forward, so as to be on a level with 
their nose, and their ears are placed higher. 
Both the men and women have no hair in any 
other part of their bodies, but their heads; and 
their nipple is of a deep black, like ebony. The 
Lapland men and women are distinguished by no 
such marks. By memoirs sent from these coun- 
tries so little known, 1 have been informed, that 
the author of the curious natural history of the 
king's garden, is mistaken, where, in speaking of 
the many curiosities of human nature, he con- 
founds the Lapland race with that of the Samo- 
jedes. There are many more different species of 
men than is commonly thought. The Samojedes, 
and the Hottentots, seem to be the two extremes 
of our continent ; and if we observe the black 
nipples of the Samojedian women, and the apron 
wiOi -which nature has furnished the Hottentot 
females, and which hangs half way down their 
thighs, we may have some idea of the great va- 
riety of our animal species, a variety unknown 
10 those inhabiting great cities, who are gene- 
rally strangers to almost every thing that is not 
immediately within their view. 

The Samojedes are as singular in their moral 
as in their physical distinctions ; tliey pay no 
worship to the Supreme Being ; they border upon 
Manicheism, or rather upon tJie religion of the 

* Memoir* lent frond Petersburg. 



wcient Magi in this one point, that they acknow> 
ledge a good and an evil principle. The horrible 
climate they inhabit may in some measure excuse 
this belief, which is of such ancient date, and so 
natural to those who are ignorant and unhappy. 

Theft, or murder, is never heard of amongst 
them ; being in a manner devoid of passions, 
they are strangers to injustice ; they have no 
terms in tb^ir language to denote vice and vir- 
tue, their extreme simplicity has not yet permit- 
ted them to form abstract ideas, they are wholly 
guided by pensation, and this is perhaps an in- 
contestable proof that men naturally love>justice, 
when not blinded by inordinate passions. 

Some of these savages were prevailed on to 
suffer themselves to be carried to Mo^-cow, where 
many things they saw struck them with admira- 
tion. Thev gazed upon the emperor as their 
god, and voluntarily engaged for themselves and 
countrsmen a present of two martens, or sables, 
every year for each inhabitant. Colonies were 
soon settled beyond the Oby,* and the lrtis,t 
and some forts built. In the year 1595, a Cos- 
sack officer was sent into this country, who con- 
quered it for the czar with onlv a few soldiers 
and some artillery, as Cortez did Mexico -, but he 
only made a conquest of barren deserts. 

In sailing up the Obj to the junction of the 
river Irtis with the Tobnl, they found a petty 
settlement, which they converted into the town 

• Called also the Ob, This lar^e river issues from the 
lake Altin in Calmuck Tartary, in Asia, from whence run- 
ning north it forms the boundary between Europe and 
Asia, and after traversin;^ a vast tract of above two thoa- 
sand mileF, it falls into a hay of the Frozen Sea. 

+ In the Russian language Irtish, This river runs from 
N. to .S. thron<:h all Russia, and falling into the former 
**Ter, forniBpart of the boundery between Asia and Europe- 


of Tobol,* now the capital of Siberia, and a con- 
siderable place. Who could imagine (hat this 
country was for along time tie residence of those 
very Huns, who under Attila carried their depre- 
dations as far as the gates of Rome, and that 
these Huns came from the north of China? The 
Usbeck Tartars succeeded the Huns, and the 
Russians the Usbecks. The possession of these 
savage countries has been disputed with as 
much murderous fury, as that of the most fruit- 
ful provinces. Siberia was formerly better 
peopled than it is at present, especially towards 
the southern parts ; if we may judge from the 
rivers and sepulchral monuments. 

All this part of the world, from the sixtieth de- 
gree of latitude, or thereabouts, as far as those 
mountains of perpetual ice which border the 
north seas, is totally different from the regions of 
the temperate zone , the earth produces neither 
the same plants, nor the same animals, nor are 
there the same sort of fishes in their lakes and 

Below the country of the Samojedes lies that 
of the Ostiaks, along the river Oby. These people 
have no resemblance in any respect with the 
Samojedes, save that like them and all the first 
race of men, they are hunters, fishermen, and 
shepherds ; some of them have no religion, not 
being formed into any society, and the others 
who live together in herds or clans, have a kind 
of worship, and pray to the principal object of 
their wants ; they adore the skin of a sheep, be- 
cause this creature is of all others tlie most ser- 
viceable to them ; just as the Egyptian husband- 
men made choice of an ox, as an emblem of the 
Deity who created that creature for the use of 

* In .he Russian language Toboloky. 


The Ostiaks have likewise other idol?, whose 
origin and worship are as little deserving our no- 
tice as their worshippers. There were some con- 
verts to Christianity made amongst them in the 
year 1 7 1 'J ; hut these, like the lowest of our pea- 
sants, are Christians without knowing what they 
profess. Several writers pretend that these 
people were natives of Great Permia, but as 
Great Permia is in a manner a desert, how comes 
it that its inhabitants should settle themselves 
at such a distance, and so inconveniently 1 This 
is a difEculty not worth clearing up. Every na- 
tion which has not cultivated the polite arts, do- 
serves to remain in obscurity. 

In the country of the Ostiaks m particular, and 
amongst their neighbours the Buratcs and Jaka- 
tians, they often discover a kind of ivory under 
ground, the nature of which is as yet unknown. 
Some take it to be a sort of fossil, and others the 
tooth of a species of elephants, the breed of which 
have been destroyed : but where is the country 
that does not afford some natural productions, 
which at once astonish and confound philosophy. 

Several mountains in this country abound with 
the amianthes or asbestos, a kind of incombus- 
tible flax, of which a sort of cloth and paper is 
sometimes made. 

To the south of the Ostiaks are the Burates, an- 
other people, who have not yet been made Chris- 
tians. Eastward there are several hordes, whom 
the Russians have not as yet entirely subdued. 

None of these people have the least knowledge 
of the calendar : they reckon their time by snows, 
and not by the apparent motion of the sun : as 
it snows regularly, and for a long time every 
winter, they say, ' I am so many snows old,' just 
as we say, I am so many years. 

And here I must relate the accounts given by 


the Swedish officer Strahlemberg, who was taken 
prisoner in the battle of Paltowa, and lived fif- 
teen years in Siberia, and made the entire toar of 
that country. He says, that there are still some 
remains of an ancient people, whose skin is 
spotted or variegated with different colours, and 
that he himself had seen some of them, and the 
fact has been confirmed to me by Russians bom 
at Tobolsky. The variety of the human species 
seems to be greatly diminished, as we find very 
few of these extraordinary people, and they have 
probably been exterminated by some other race : 
for instance there are very few Albinos, or White 
Moors ; one of ihem was presented to the aca- 
demy of sciences at Paris, which I saw. It is 
the same with respect to several other species of 
animals which are rare. 

As to the Borandians, of whom mention is 
made so frequently in the learned history of the 
king's garden, my memoirs say, that this race ol 
people is entirely unkno%vn to the Russians. 

All the southern part of these countries is 
peopled by numerous hordes of Tartars. The 
ancient Turks came from this part of Tariary to 
conquer these extensive countries, of which they 
are at present in possession. The Calmucs and 
IVIonguls are the very Scythians who, under Ma- 
dies, made themselves masters of Upper Asia, 
and conquered Cyaxares, king of the Medes. 
They are the men, whom Gengis Khan and his 
sons led afterwards as far as Germany, and was 
termed the Mogul empire under Tamerlane. 
These people afford a lively instance of the vicis- 
situdes which have happened to all nations j 
some of their hoides, so far from being formi- 
dable now, are become vassals to Russia. 

Among these is a nation of Calmucs, dwelling 
between Siberia and the Caspian Sea, where, in 


tiie year 1720, there was discovered a subter- 
raneous house of stone, with urns, lamps, ear- 
rings, an equestrian statue of an oriental prince, 
with a diadem on his head, two women seated 
on thrones, and a roll of manuscripts, which were 
sent by Peter the Great to the academy of in- 
scriptions at Paris, and proved to be written in 
the Thibet language: all these are striking proofS; 
that the liberal arts formerly resided in this now 
barbarous country, and are lasting evidences of 
the truth of what Peter the Great was wont seve- 
raJ times to say, viz. that the arts had made the 
tour of the globe. 

The last province is Kamtshatka, the most 
eastern part of the continent. The inhabitants 
were absolutely void of all religion when they 
were first discovered. The north part of this 
country likewise affords fine furs, with which the 
inhabitants clothed themselves in winter, though 
they went naked all the summer season. The 
first discoverers were surprised to find in the 
southern parts men with long beards, while in 
the northern parts, from the country of the Samo- 
jedes, as far as the mouth of the river Amur, 
they have no more beards than the Americans. 
Thus, in the empire of Russia, there is a greater 
number rf different species, more singularities, 
and a greater diversity of manners and customs, 
tlian in any country in the known world. 

The first discovery of this country was made 
by a Cossack ofiicer, who went by land from Si- 
beria to Kamtshatka, m 1701, by order of Peter 
the Great, who, notwithstanding his misfortune 
at Narva, still continued to extend his care from 
one extremity of the continent to tie other. 
Afterwards, in 1725, some time before death 
surprised him, in the midst of his great exploits, 
he sent Captain Bering, a Dane, with exprew 


orders to find out, if possible, a passage by the 
sea of Kamtshatka, to the ccast of America. 
Bering did not succeed in liis first atteirpt ; but 
the empress Anne sent him out again in 1733. 
M. Spengenberg, captain of a ship, his associate 
in this voyage, set out the first from Kamtshatka, 
but could not put to sea till the year 1739, so 
much time was taken up in getting to the port 
•where they were to embark, in buildi .)g and fit- 
ting out the ships, and providing the necessaries. 
Spengenberg sailed as far as the north part of 
Japan, through a streight, formed by a long chain 
of islands, and returned without having disco- 
vered the passage. 

In 1741, Bering cruised all over this sea, in 
company with De Lisle de la Croyere, the astro- 
nomer, of the same family of L'Isle, which has 
produced such excellent geographers : another 
captain likewise went upon the same discovery. 
They both made the coast of America, to the 
northward of California. Thus the north-east 
passage, so long sought after, was at length dis- 
covered, but there were no refreshments to be met 
with in those barren coasts. Their fresh water 
failed them, and part of the crew perished with 
the scurvy. 1 hey saw the northern bank of Cali- 
fornia for above a hundred miles, and saw some 
leathern canoes, with just such a sort of people 
in them as the Canadians. All their endeavours 
however proved fruitless : Bering ended his life 
in an island, to which he gave his name. The 
other captain, happening to be closer in with the 
Californiau coast, sent ten of his people on shore, 
who ever returned. The captain, after waiting 
for tuem in vain, found himself obliged to return 
back '0 Kamtshatka, and De Lisle died as he 
«'a» going on shore. Such are the disasters that 
i»ave geneially attended every new attempt upon 


the northern seas. But what advantages maj 
yet arise from tliese powerful and dangerous dis- 
coveries, time alone can prove. 

We have now described all the different pro- 
vinces that compose the Russian dominions, from 
Finland to the sea of Japan. The largest parts 
of this empire have been all united at different 
times, as has been the case in all other kingdoms 
in the world. The Scythians, Huns, Massagetes, 
Slavians, Cimbrians, Getes, and Sarmatians, are 
now subjects of the czar. The Russians, pro- 
perly so called, are the ancient Roxolani or Slavi. 

Upon reflection, we shall find that most states 
were formed in che same manner. The French 
are an assemblage of Goths, of Danes called 
Normands, of northern Germans, called Burgun- 
dians ; of Franks, Allraans, and some Romans, 
mixed with the ancient Celtae. In Rome anrt 
Italy there are several families descended from 
the people of the Nonh, but none that we know 
of from the ancient Romans. The supreme pon- 
tiff is frequently the offspring of a Lombard, a 
Goth, a Teuton, or a Cimbrian. The Spaniards 
are a race of Arabs, Carthaginians. Jews, Tyrians, 
Visigoths, and Vandals, incorporated with the 
ancient inhabitants of the country. When na- 
tions are thus intermixed, it is a long time before 
tbey are civilized, or even before their language 
is formed. Some, indeed, receive these sooner, 
others later. Polity and the liberal arts are so 
difficult to establish, and the new raised structure 
is so often destroyed by revolutions, that we 
may wonder all nations are not so barbarous w 



Continuation of the description of Russia, population 
fiiiances, armies, customB, religion : state of Russia 
before Peter the Great. 

'PHE more civilized a country is, the better it 
is peopled. Thus China and India are more 
populous than any other empires, because, after 
a multitude of revolutions, which changed the 
face of sublunary affairs, these two nations made 
the earliest establishments in civil society : the 
antiquity of their government, which had sub- 
sisted upwards of four thousand years, supposes, 
as we liave already observf^i, many essays and 
efforts in preceding agt.s. The Russians came 
very late ; but the arts having been introduced 
amongst theui in their full perftcdon, it has hap- 
pened, that they have made more progress in 
fifty years, than any other nation had done be- 
fore them in five hundred. The country is far 
from being populous, in proportion to its extent; 
but. such as it is, it has as great a number of in- 
habitants as any other state in Christendom. 
From the capitation lists, and the register of 
merchants, artificers, and male peasants, 1 might 
safely as>er-t, that Russia, at present, contains 
at least twenty-four millions of male inhabitants : 
of tliese twenty-four millions, the greatest part 
are villains or bondmen, as in Poland, several 
provinces of Germany, and formerly throujihout 
all Europe. The estate of a gentleman in Russia 
and Poland is computed, not i)y his increase in 
money, but by the number of his slaves. 

The following is a list, taken in 1747, of all 
the males who paid the capitation or poll-tax : — 

Merchants or tradesmen 198000 

Handicrafts .... .... 1650w 



Peasants incorporated with the mer- 
chants and handicrafts 1950 

Peasants called Odonoskis, who contri- 
bute to maintain the militia . . . 430220 

Others who do not contribute thereto . 26080 

Workmen of different trades, whose 

parents are not known 1000 

Others who are not incorporated with 

the companies of tradesmen . . . 4700 

Peasants immediately dependent on the 

crown, about 555000 

Persons employed in the mines belong- 
ing to the crown, partly Christians, 
partly Mahometans and Pagans . . 64000 

Other peasants belonging to the crown, 
who work in the mines, and in pri- 
vate manufactories 24200 

New converts to the Greek church . 57000 

Tartars and Ostiaks (peasants) . . . 241000 

Mourses, Tartars, Mordauts, and others, 
whether Pagans or Christians, em- 
ployed by the admiralty .... 7800 

Tartars subject to contribution, called 

Tepteris, Bobilitz, Sec 28900 

Bondmen to several merchants, and 
other privileged persons, who though 
not landholders, are allowed to have 
slaves 9100 

Peasants in the lands set apart for the 

support of the crown 418000 

Peasants on the lands belonging to her 
majesty, independently of the rights 
of the crown 60500 

Peasants on the lands confiscated to the 

crown 13600 

Bondmen belonging to the assembly of 
the clergy, and who defray other ex- 
penses 37500 


Bondmen belonging to gentlemen . . 3550000 
Bondmen belonging to bishops . . . 116400 
Bondmen belonging to convents, whose 

numbers were reduced by Peter the 

Great 721500 

Bondmen belonging to cathedral and 

parish churches 2S700 

Peasants employed as labourers in the 

docks of the admiralty, or in otlier 

public wc^iks, about 4000 

Labourers in the mines, and in private 

manufactures 16000 

Peasants on the lands assigned to the 

principal manufactures 14500 

Labourers in the mines belonging to the 

crown 300 

Bastards brought up by the clergy . . 40 

Sectaries called Raskolniky .... iii'iOO 

Total 6646390 

Here we have a round number of six millions 
six hundred forty-six thousand three hundred 
and ninety male persons, who pay the poll-tax. 
In this number are included boys and old men, 
but girls and women are not reckoned, nor boys 
born between the making of one register of the 
lands and another. Now, if we only reckon 
triple the number of heads subject to be taxed, 
including women and girls, we shall find near 
twenty millions of souls. 

To this number we may add the military list, 
■which amounts to three hundred and fifty thou- 
sand men : besides, neither the nobili-ty nor clergy, 
who arc computed at two hundred thousand, are 
subject to this capitation. 

Foreigners, of whatever country or profession, 
are likewise exempt : as also the inhaLiiant.s uf 


the conquered countries, namely, Livon;a, Es- 
thonia, Ingria, Carelia, and a part of Finland, 
the Ukraine, and the Don Cossacks, the Cal- 
mucks, and other Tartars, Samojedes. the Lap- 
landers, the Ostiaks, and all the idolatrous people 
of Siberia, a country of greater extent than China. 

By the same calculation, it is impossible that 
the total of the inhabitants of Russia should 
amount to less than twenty-four millions. At 
this rate, there are eight persons to every square 
mile. The English ambassador, whom I have 
mentioned before, allows only five ; but he cer- 
tainly was not furnished with such faithful me- 
moirs as those with which 1 have been favoured. 

Russia therefore is exactly five times less po- 
pulous than Spain, but contains near four times 
the number of inhabitants : it is almost as popu- 
lous as France or Germany ; but, if we consider 
its vast extent, the number of souls is thirty times 

There is one important remark to be made in 
regard to this enumeration, namely, that out o! 
six million six hundred and forty thousand peo- 
ple liable to the poll-tax, there are abuut nine 
hundred thousand that belong to the Russian 
clergy, without reckoning either the ecclesiastics 
of the conquered countries, of the Ukraine, or of 

Therefore, out of seven persons liable to the 
poll-tax, the clergy have one ; but, nevertheless, 
they are far from possessing the seventh part of 
the whole revenues of the state, as is the case in 
many other kingdoms, where they have at least 
H seventh of all estates; for their peztsants pay 
:j capitation to the sovereign ; and the other 
taxes of the crown of Russia, in which the clei^ 
^.ive no share, are very considerable. 

T\;\» valuation is very different from that of 


ftll other writers, on the aflFairs of Russia ; so that 
forpign ministers, who have transmitted memoirs 
of this state to their courts, have been great!}'- 
mistaken. The archives of the empire are the 
only things to be consulted. 

It is very probable, that Russia has been bet- 
ter peopled than it is at present ; before the 
sraall-pox, that came from the extremities of 
Arabia, and the great pox that came from Ame- 
rica, had spread over these climates, where they 
have now taken root. The world owes these 
two dreadful scourges, which have depopulatec 
it more than all its wars, the one to Mahomet, 
and the other to Christopher Columbus. The 
plague, which is a native of Africa, seldom ap- 
proached the countries of the North : besides, 
the people of those countries, from Sarmatia to 
the Tartars, who dwell beyond the great wall, 
having overspread the world by their irruptions, 
this ancient nursery of the human species must 
have been surprisingly diminished. 

In this vast extent of country, tnere are said 
to be about seventy-four ♦.housand monks, and 
five thousand nuns, notwithstanding the care 
taken by Peter the Great to reduce their number; 
a care worthy the legislator of an empire where 
the human race is so remarkably deficient. These 
thirteen thousand persons, thus immured and 
lost to the state, have, as the reader may have 
observed, seventy-two thousand bondmen to till 
their lajids, which is evidently too great a num- 
ber : there cannot be a stronger proof how diffi- 
cult it is to eradicate abu.^es of a long standing. 

I find, by a list of the revenues of the empire 
in 17o5, that reckoning the tribute paid by the 
Tartars, with all taxes and duties in money, the 
8um total amounted to thirteen millions of rubles, 
which jnakes sixty five millions of French livreb. 


exclusive of tributes in kind. This moderate sum 
was at that time sufficient to maintain three 
hundred and thirty-nine thousand five hundred, 
as well sea as land forces : but both the revenues 
and troops are augmented since that time. 

The customs, diets, and manners of the Rus- 
sians, ever bore a greater affinity to those of Asia 
than to those of Europe: such was the old cus- 
tom of receiving tributes in kind, of defraying the 
expenses of ambassadors on their journeys, and 
during their residence in the country, and of 
never appearing at church, or in the royal pre- 
sence with a sword ; an oriental custom, directly 
the reverse of that ridiculous and barbarous one 
amongst us, of addressing ourselves to Gcd, to 
our king, to our friends, and to our women, with 
an offensive weapon, which hangs down to the 
bottom of the leg. The long robe worn on public 
days, had a more noble air than the short habits 
of the western nations of Europe. A vest lined 
and turned up with fur, with a long scimar, 
adorned with jewels for festival days ; and those 
high turbans, which add to the stature, were 
much more striking to the eye than our perukes 
and close coats, and more suitable to cold cli- 
mates ; but this ancient dress of all nations seems 
to be not so well contrived for war, nor so con- 
venient for working people. .Most of their other 
customs were rustic ; but we must not imagine, 
that their manners were so barbarous as some 
writers would have us believe. Albert Krants 
relates a story of an Italian ambassador, whom 
the czar ordered to have his hat nailed to his 
head, for not pulling it cff while he was making 
his speech to him. Others attribute this adven- 
ture to a Tartar, and others again to a French 

Olearius pretends, that he czar Michael 


Theodorowitz, banished the marquis of E-xideuil, 
ambassador from Henry IV. of France, into 
Siberia ; but it is certain, that this monarch sent 
no ambassador to INIoscow, and that there never 
was a marquis of Exideiiil in France. In the 
same manner do travellers speak about the 
country of Borandia, and of the trade they have 
carried on with the people of Nova Zembla, 
which is scarcely inhabited at all, and the long 
conversations they have had with some of the 
Samojedes, as if they understood their language. 
Were the enormous compilations of voyages to 
be cleared of every thing that is not true nor use- 
ful in them, both the works and the public would 
be gainers by it. 

The Russiaii government resembled that of the 
Turks, in respect to the standing forces, or guards, 
called Strelitzes, who, like the janissaries, some- 
times disposed of the crown, and frequently dis- 
turbed the state as much as they defended it. 
Their number was about forty thousand. Those 
who were dispersed in the provinces, subsisted 
by rapine and plunder ; those in Moscow lived 
like citizens, followed trades, did no duty, and 
carried their insolence to the greatest excess : in 
short, there was no other way to preserve peace 
and good order in the kingdom, but by breaking 
them ; a very necessary, and at the same time a 
very dangerous step. 

The public revenues did not exceed five mil- 
lions of rubles, or about twenty-five millions of 
French livres This was suflBcient when czar 
Peter came to the crown to maintain the ancient 
mediocrity, but was not a third part of what was 
necessary to go certain lengths, and to render 
himself and people considerable in Europe : but 
at the same time many of tlieir taxes were paid 
ia kind, according to the Turkish custom, which 


is less burthensome to the people than that of 
paying their tributes in money. 


As to the title of czar, it may possibly come 
from the tzars or tchars of the kingdom of Casau. 
When John, or Ivan Basilides, completed tbe 
conquest of this kingdom in the sixteenth century, 
which had been begun by his grandfather, who 
afterwards lost it, he assumed this title, which 
his successors have retained ever since. Before 
John Basilides, the sovereign of Russia, took the 
title of Welike Knez, i. e. great prince, great 
lord, great chief, which the Christian nations af- 
terwards rendered bv that of great duke. Czar 
Michael Theodorowitz, when he received the 
Holstein embassy, took to himself the follo\\'ing 
titles : ' Great knez, and great lord, conservator 
of all the Russias, prince of Wolodomer, Moscow, 
Xovogorod, &c. tzar of Casan, tzar of Astracan, 
and Lzar of Siberia.' Tzar was, therefore, a title 
belonging to these eastern princes ; and, there- 
fore, it is more probable to have been derived from 
the tshas of Persia, than from the Roman Caesars, 
whom the Siberian tzars, on the banks of the 
Oby, can hardly be supposed to have ever heard. 

No title, however pompous, is of any conse- 
quence, if those who bear it are not great and 
powerful themselves. The word emperor, which 
originally signified no more than general of the 
army, became the title of the sovereign of the 
Roman republic : it is now given to the supreme 
governor of all the Russias, more justly than to 
any other potentate, if we consider the power and 
extent of his dominions. 


The established religion of this country has, 
?ver since the eleventh centurv, been that of the 


Greek church, so called in opp.osition to the Latin : 
though there were always a greater number of 
Mahometan and Pagan proTinces, than of those 
inhabited by Christians. Siberia, as far as China, 
was in a state of idolatry ; and, in some of the 
provinces, they were utter strangers to all kind 
of religion. 

Perry, the engineer, and baron Strahlemberg, 
who both -esided so many years in Russia, tell 
us, that they found more sincerity and probity 
among the Pagans than the other inhabitants ; 
not that paganism made them more virtuous, but 
their manner of living, which, was that of the pri- 
mitive ages, as they are called, freed them from 
all the tumultuous passions ; and, in consequence, 
they were known for their integrity. 

Christianity did not get footing in Russia and 
the other countries of the North, till very late. 
It is said, that a princess, named Olha, first in- 
troduced it, about the end of the tenth century, 
as Clotilda, niece to an Arian prince, did among 
the Franks , the wife of Miceslaus, duke of Po- 
land, among the Poles ; and the sister of the em- 
peror Henry II. among the Hungarians. Women 
are naturally easily persuaded by the ministers 
of religion, and as easily persuade the other part 
of mamkind. 

It is further added, that the princess Olha 
caused herself to be baptized at Constantinople, 
by the name of Helena ; and that, as soon as she 
embraced Christianity, the emperor John Zimis- 
ces fell in love with her. It is most likely that 
she was a widow ; however, she refused the em- 
peror. The example of the princess Olha, or 
Olga, as she is called, did not at first make many 
proselytes. Her son,* who reigned a long time, 

• liiG name was SowattoH-slaw. 


was not of the same way of thinking ashis mother , 
but her grandson, Wolodomer. who was born of 
a concubine, having murdered his brother and 
mounted the throne, sued for the alliance of Ba- 
siles, emperor of Constantinople, but could obtain 
it only on condition of receiving baptism : and 
this event, which happened in the year 987, is 
the epocha when the Greek church was first es- 
tablished in Russia. Photius. the patriarch, so 
famous for his immense erudition, his disputes 
with the church of R.ome, and for his misfortunes, 
sent a person to baptize Wolodomer, in order to 
add this part of the world to the patriarchal see.* 
Wolodimer, or Wolodomer, therefore com- 
pleted the work which his grandmother had be- 
gun. A Greek was made the first metropolitan* 
or patriarch of Russia ; and from this time the 
Russians adopted an alphabet, taken partly from 
the Greek. This would have been of advantage 
to them, had they not still retained the princi- 
ples of their own language, which is the Sclavo- 
nian in every thing, but a few terms relating to 
their liturgy and church government. One of the 
Greek patriarchs, named .'eremiah, having a suit 
depending before the divan, came to Moscow to 
solicit it ; where, after some time, he resigned 
his authority over the Russian churches, and con- 
secrated patriarch, the archbishop of Novogorod, 
named Job. This was iu the year 1.588, from 
which time the Russian church became as inde- 
pendent as its empire. The patriarch of Russia 
has ever since been consecrated by the Russian 
bishops, and not by the patriarch of Constanti- 
no])le. He ranked in the Greek church next Iff 

• Tbis anecdote is taken from a private ^IS. entitled, 
' The Ecclesiastical Government of Russia." which is lika^ 
wiK deposited in the public library. 


the patriarch of Jerusalem, but he was in fact the 
only free and powerful patriarch ; and, conse- 
quently, the only real one. Those of Jerusalem, 
Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, are merce- 
nary chiefs of a church, enslaved by the Turks r 
and even the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Antioch 
are no longer considered as such, having no more 
credit or influence in Turkey, than the rabbins of 
the Jewish synagogues settled there. 

It was from a person who was a patriarch of 
all the Kussias, that Peter the Great was de- 
scended in a right line. These new prelates soon 
wanted to share the sovereign authority with the 
czars. i'hey thought it not enough that their 
prince walked bare-headed, once a year before 
the patriarch, leading his horse by the bridle. 
These external marks of respect only served to 
increase their thirst for rule ; a passion which 
proved the source of great troubles in Russia, as 
well as in other countries. 

Nicon, a person whom the monks look upon 
as a saint, and who was patriarch in the reign 
('( Alexis, the father of Peter the Great, wanted 
to raise his dignity above that of the throne ; for 
he not only assumed the privilege of sitting by 
tlie side of the czar in the senate, but pretended 
that neither war nor peace could be made with- 
out his consent. His authority was t^o great, that, 
being supported by his immense wealth, and by 
his intrigues with the clergy and the people, he 
kept his master in a kind of subjection. He had 
the boldness to excommunicate some senators 
who opposed his excessive insolence; till at last, 
Alexis, finding himself not powerful enough to 
depose Lim by his own authority, was obliged to 
convene a synod of all the bishops. There the 
patriarch was accused of having received money 
from the Poles j and being convicted, was deposed, 


and confined for the remainder of his days in a 
monaster^', after which the prelates chose another 
patriarch in his stead. 

From the first infancy of Christianity in Russia, 
there have been several sects there, as well as in 
other countries ; for sects are as frequently the 
fruits of ignorance, as of pretended knowledge : 
but Russia is the only Christian state of any con- 
siderable ext-ent, in which religion has not excit- 
ed civil wars, though it has felt some occasional 

The Raskolnikys, who consist at present of 
about two thousand males, and who are men- 
tioned in the foregoing list,* are the most ancient 
sect of any in this country. It was establishe^d 
in the twelfth century, bv some enthusiasts, who 
had a superficial knowledge of the New Testa- 
ment- they made use then, and still do, of the 
old pretence of all sectaries, that of following 
the letter, and accused all other Christians of 
remissness. They would not permit a priest, 
who had drank brandy, to confer baptism ; they 
affirmed, in the words of our Saviour, that there 
is neither a first nor a last, among the faithful ; 
and held, that one of the elect might kill himself 
for the love of his Saviour. According to them 
it is a great sin to repeat the hallelujah three 
times ; and, therefore, repeat it only twice. The 
benediction is to be given only with three fingers. 
In other respects, no society can be more regu- 
lar, or strict in its morals. They live like the 
quakers, and, like them, do not admit any other 
Christians into their assemblies, which is the 
reason that these have accused them of all the 
abominations of which the heathens accused the 
primitive Galileans: these latter, the gnostics, 

• See page .^5. 


and with which the Roman catholics have charg- 
ed the protestants. They have been frequently 
accused of cutting the throat of an infant, and 
drinking its blood ; and of mixing together in 
their private ceremonies, without distinction of 
kindred, age, or even of sex. They have been 
persecuted at tiroes, and then they shut them- 
selves up in their hamlets, set fire to their houses, 
and thrown themselves into the tiames. Peter 
took the only method of reclaiming them, which 
was by letting them live in peace. 

But to conclude, in all this vastempiie, there 
are but twenty eight e})iscopal sees ; and in 
Peter's time there were but twenty -two. This 
small number was, })erhaps, one of the causes to 
which the Russian church owes its tranquillity. 
So very circumscribed was the knowledge of the 
clergy, that czar Theodore, brother to Peter the 
Great, was the first who introduced the custom 
of singing Psalms in churches. 

Theodore and Peter, espev-laUy the latter, ad- 
mitted indifFerently, into thtir councils and their 
armies, those of the Greek, the Latin, the Lu- 
theran, and the Calvinift communion, leaving 
every one at liberty to serve God after his own 
conscience, provided he did his duty to the state. 
At that time there was not one Latin church in 
this great empire of two thousand leagues, till 
Peter established some new manufactures at As- 
tracan,when there were about sixty Roman catho ■ 
lie families, under the direction of the ca|)uchins ; 
but the Jesuits endeavouring to establish them- 
selves in his dominions, he drove them out by 
an edict, published in the month of April, 17 18. 
He tolerated the capuchins as an insignificant set 
of monks, but considered the Jesuits as dangerous 

The Greek church has at once the honour and 


Batisfaction o see its communion extended 
throughout c.n empire of two thousand leagues 
in length, while that of Rome is not in possession 
of half that tract in Europe. Those of the Greek 
communion have, at all times, been particularly 
attentive to maintain an equality between theirs 
and the Latin church ; and always upon their 
guard against the zeal of the see of Rome, which 
they look upon as ambition ; because, in fact, 
that church, whose power is very much circum- 
scribed in our hemisphere, and yet assumes the 
title of universal, has always endeavoured to act 
up to that title. 

The Jews never made any settlements in 
Russia, as they have done iu most of the other 
states of Europe, from Constantinople to Rome. 
The Russians have carried on their trade by 
themselves, or by the help of the nations settled 
amongst them. Theirs is the only country of the 
Greek communion, where synagogues are not 
seen by the side of Christian temples. 

Coneluaion of the State of 

Russia is indebted solely to czar Peter for its 
great influence in the affairs of Europe : being 
of no consideration in any other reign, since it 
embraced Christianity. Before '.his period, the 
Russians made the same figure on the Black Sea, 
that the Normans did afterwards on the coasts of 
the ocean. In the reign of the emperor Hera- 
clius, they fitted out an armament of forty thou- 
sand small barks; appeared before Constanti- 
nople, which thev besieged, and imposed a 
tribute on the Greek emperors; but the grand 
knez Woiodimar, being wholly taken up uath 
the care of establishing Chrifltianity in his do- 


in'nions, and wearied out with intestine broils 
in his own family, weakened his dominions by 
dividing them between his children. They al- 
most all fell a prey to the Tartars, who held 
Russia in subjection near two hundred years. 
At lenotl Join Basilides freed it from slavery, 
and enlar>jed its boundaries: bat, after his time, 
it was ruined again by civil wars. 

Before the time of Peter the Great, Russia was 
neither so powerful, so well cultivated, so popu- 
lous, nor so rich as at present. It had no posses- 
sions in Finland, nor in Livonia ; and this latter 
alone had long been worth more than all Siberia. 
The Cossacks were still unsubjected, nor were 
the people of Astracan reduced to obedience •, 
what little trade was carried on, was rather to 
their disadvantage. The White Sea, the Baltic, 
the Pontus Euxinus, the sea of Azoph, and the 
Caspian Sea, were entirely useless to a nation 
that had not a single ship, nor even a term in 
their language to express a fleet. If nothing 
more had been wanting but to be superior to the 
Tartars, and the other nations of the north, as 
far as China, the Russians undoubtedly had that 
advantage, but they were to be brought upon an 
equality with civilized nations, and to be in a 
condition, one day, of even surpassing several of 
them. Such an undertaking apj)eared altogether 
impracticable, inasmuch as they had not a single 
ship at sea, and were absolutely ignorant of mi- 
litary dicipline by land : nay, the most common 
manufactures were hardJy encouraged, and agri- 
culture itself, that primnm mobile of trade, was 
neglected. This requires the utmost attention 
and encouragement on the part of a govornment; 
and it is to this that the English are indebted, for 
finding in their corn a treasure far superior to 
their woollen manufacture. 


This gross neglect of the necessary arts, suffi* 
cieRtly shews that the people of Russia had no 
idea of the polite arts, which become necessar}', 
in their tarn, when we have cdtivated the others. 
Thej might indeed, have sent some of the na- 
tives to gain instruction among foreigners, but 
the difference of languages, manners, and reli- 
gion, opposed it. Besides, there was a iaw of 
state and religion, equally sacred and pernicious, 
which prohibited any Russian from going out of 
his country, and thus seemed to devote this peo- 
ple to eternal ignorance. They were in posssr.- 
sion of the most extensive dominions in the uni- 
verse, and yet every thing was wanted amongst 
them. At length Peter was bom, and Russia 
became a civilized state. 

Happily, of all the great lawgivers who bav3 
lived in the world, Peter is the only one whose his- 
tory is well known. Those of Theseus and Romu- 
lus, who did far less than him, and of the founders 
of all well-governed states, are blended with the 
most absurd fictions : whereas here, we have tba 
advantage of written truths, which would pass 
for nctious, were they not so well attested. 


The ancestors of Peter the Great. 
'T'HE family of Peter the Great have been in 
possession of the throne ever since the year 
1613. Before that time, Russia had undergone 
revolutions, which h-ad retarded the reform.ation 
of her police, and the introduction of the liberal 
arts. This has been the fate of all human socie- 
ties. No kingdom ever experienced more crueJ 
troubles. In the year 1.597, -the tyranf. Boris 


Godonow assassinated Demetrius (or Demetri, 
as he was called), the lawful heir, and usurped 
the empire. A young monk took the name of 
Demetrius, pretending to be that prince who had 
escaped from his murderers ; and with the assis- 
tance of the Poles, and a considerable party 
(which every tyrant has against him), he drove 
out the usurper, and seized the crown himself. 
The imposture was discovered as soon as he 
came to the sovereignty, because the people were 
not pleased with him ; and he was murdered. 
Three other false Demetrius's started up, one 
after another. Such a succession of impostors, 
supposes a country in the utmost distraction. 
The less men are civilized, the more easily they 
are imposed on. It may readily be conceived, 
how much these frauds augmented the public 
confusion and misfortunes. The Poles, who had 
begun the revolutions, by setting up the first false 
Demetrius, were on the point of being masters 
of Russia. The Swedes shared in the spoils on 
the coast of Finland, and laid claim to the crown. 
The state seemed on the verge of utter destruc- 

In the midst of these calamities, an assembly, 
composed of the principal boyards, chose for 
their sovereign a yoimg man of fifteen years of 
age : this happened in 1613, and did not seem a 
very likely method of putting an end to these 
troubles. This young man w;is Michael Roma- 
now,* grandfather to czar Peer, and son to the 
archbishop of Ilotow, surnamed PliilaTcles, and 
of a nun, and related by the mother's bide to the 
ancient czars. 

• Tbu8 the Russians call this roung man ; but in all 
French authors we find Romano, tluit lanj^uai^e having u& 
Burh letter ae the W ; others again cull hira Komatioff. 



It must be observed, that this archbisbop was 
a powerful nobleman, whom the tyrant Boris had 
obliged to become priest. His wife, Scheremetow, 
was likewise compelled to take the veil ; this was 
the ancient custom of the western tyrants of the 
Latin church, as that of putting out the eyes was 
with the Greek Christians. The tyrant Deme- 
trius made Philaretes archbishop of Rostow, and 
sent him ambassador to Poland, where he was 
detained prisoner by the Poles, who were then 
at war with the Russians ; so little was the law 
of nations known to the different people of these 
times. During his father's confinement, young 
Romanow was elected czar. The archbishop was 
exchanged against some Polish prisoners ; and, 
at his return, his son created him patriarch, and 
the old man was in fact king, under his son's name. 

If such a government appears extraordinary to 
strangers, the marriages of czar Michael Roma- 
now, will seem stil4 more so. The Russian 
princes had never intermarried with foreign 
states since the year 1490, or after they became 
masters of Casan and Astracan ; they seem to 
have followed the .Vsiatic customs in almost every 
thing, and especially in that of marrying only 
among their own subjects. 

This conformity to the ancient customs of Asia, 
was still more conspicuous at the ceremonies 
observed at the marriage of a czar. A num.ber 
of the most beautiful women in the provinces 
were sent for to court, where they were received 
by the grand gouvemante of the court, who pro- 
vided apartments for them in her own house, 
where they all eat together. The czar paid them 
visits, sometimes incognito, and sometimes in 
his real character. The wedding-day was fixed, 
without its being declared on whom the choice 
had fallen. At the appointed time, the happy 


she was presented with a rich wedding-suit, and 
other dresses were given to the rest of the fair 
candidates, wlio then returned home. There 
have been four instances of these marriages. 

In this manner was Michael Romanow es- 
poused to Eudocia, the daughter of a poor gen- 
tleman, named Streschneu. He was employed 
in ploughing his grounds with his servants, when 
the lords of the bed-chamber came to him with 
presents from the czar, and to acquaint him that 
his daughter was placed on the throne. The name 
of the princess is still held in the highest venera- 
tion by the Russians. This custom is greatly 
different from ours, but not the less respectable 
on that account. 

It is necessary to observr-, that before Roma- 
now was elected czar, a strong party had made 
choice of prince Ladislaus, son to Sigismund 111. 
king of Poland. At the same time, the pro- 
vinces bordering on Sweden had offered the 
crown to a brother of Gustavus Adolphus : so 
that Russia was in the same situation then in 
which we have so frequently seen Poland, where 
the right of electing a king has been the source 
of civil wars. But the Russians did not follow 
the example of the Poles, who entered into a 
compact with the prince whom they elected ; 
notwithstanding they had smarted from the op- 
pression of tyrants, yet they voluntarily sub- 
mitted to a young man, without making any con- 
ditions with him. 

Russia never was an elective kingdom ; but 
the male issue of the ancient sovereigns failing, 
and six czars, or pretenders, having perished 
miserably in the late troubles, there was, a.s we 
have observed, a necessity for electing a mo- 
narch ; and this election occasioned fresh wars 
uith Poland and Sweden, who maintained, with 


force of arms, their pretended rights tD the 
crown of Russia. The right of governing a na- 
tion against its own will, can never be long sup- 
ported. The Poles, on their side, after having 
advanced as far as jMoscow, and exercised all 
the ravages in which the military expeditions of 
those times chiefly consisted, concluded a truce 
for fourteen rears. Bv this truce, Poland re- 
mained in possession of the duchy of Smolensko, 
in which the Boristhene.s has its source. The 
Swedes also made peace, in virtue of which they 
remained in possession of Ingria, and deprived 
the Russians of all communication with the Baltic 
Sea, so that this empire was separated more than 
ever from the rest of Europe. 

Michael Romanow, after this peace, reigned 
quietly, without making any alteration in the 
state, either to the improvement or corruption 
of the administration. After his death, which 
happened in 1645, his son, Alexis Michaelowitz 
(or son of Michael), ascended the throne by 
hereditary right. It may be observed, that the 
czars were crowned by the patriarch of Russia, 
according to the ceremonies in use at Constanti- 
nople, except that the patriarch of Russia, was 
seated on the same ascent with the sovereign, 
and constantly affected an equality highly insult- 
ing to the supreme power. 


Alexis was married in the same manner as his 
father, and from among the young women pre- 
sented, he chose the one who appeared the most 
amiable in his eyes. He married a daughter of 
the boyard Mefoslauski, in 1647 ; his second 
wife, whom he married in 1671, was of the fa- 
mily of Nariskin, and his favourite Morosow was 
married to another. 'I'here cannot be a mors 


Buitable title found for this favoarite tban that of 
vizier, for be governed the empire in a despotic 
manner ; and, by his great power, excited several 
commotions among the strelitzes and the popu- 
lace, as frequently happens at Constantinople. 

The reign of Alexis was disturbed by bloody 
insurrections, and by domestic and foreign wars. 
A chief of the Don Cossacks, named Stenko- 
Rasin, endeavoured to make himself king of 
Astracan, and was for a long time very formida- 
ble; but, being at length defeated and taken 
prisoner, he ended his life by the hands of the 
executioner ; like all those of this stamp, who 
have nothing to expect but a throne or a scaflfold. 
About twelve thousand of his adherents are said 
to have been hanged on the high road to Astra- 
can. In this part of tbe world, men being uninflu- 
enced by morality, were to be governed only by 
rigour ; and from this severity, frequently carried 
on to a degree of cruelty, arose slavery, and a 
secret thirst of revenge. 

Alexis had a war with the Poles that proved 
successful, and terminated in a peace, which 
secured to him the possession of Smolensko, 
Kiow, and the Ukraine : but he was unfortunate 
against the Swedes, and the boundaries of the 
Russian empire were contracted within a very 
narrow compass on that side of the kingdom. 

The Turks were at that time his most formi- 
dable enemies : they invaded Poland, and threat- 
ened the dominions of the czar that bordered 
upon Crim Tartary, the ancient Taurica Clierso- 
nesus. In 1671, tliey took the important city of 
Kaminiek, and all that belonged to Poland in 
tbe I'kraine. The Coss:\cks of that country, 
ever averse to 'Subjection, knew not whether they 
belonged to tlie Turks, Poland, or Uussia. Sultan 
Mahomet 1 V. who had conquered the Poles, and 


had just imposed a tribute upon them, demanded, 
with all the haughtiness of an Ottoman victor, 
that the czar should evacuate his possessions in 
the Ukraine, but received :is haughty a denial 
from that prince. Men did not know at that 
time how to disguise their pride, by an outside 
of civility. The sultan, in his letter, styled the 
sovereign of the Russias only Christian Hospodar, 
and entitled himself 'most gracious majesty, 
king of the universe.' The czar replied in these 
terms, ' that he scorned to submit to a Mahome- 
tan dog, and that his scimetar was as good as the 
grand seignior's sabre.' 

Alexis at that time formed a design which 
seemed to presage the influence which the Rus- 
sian empire would one day obtain in the ChTJstian 
world. He sent ambas.^adors to the pope, and 
to almost all the great sovereigns in Europe, ex- 
cepting France (which was in alliance with the 
Turks), in order toestablish a league against the 
Ottoman Porte. His ambassadors at the court 
of Rome succeeded only in not being obliged to 
kiss the pope's toe ; and in other courts they met 
with only unprofitable good wishes ; the quarrels 
of the Christian princes between themselves, and 
the jarring interests arising from those quarrels, 
having constantly prevented them from uniting 
against the common enemy of Christianity. 

In the mean time, the Turks threatened to 
chastise the Poles, who refused to pay their tri- 
bute : czar Alexis assisted on the side of Crim 
Tartary, and John Sobieski, general of the crown, 
wiped off his countrj''s stain in the blood of the 
'J urks, at the famous battle of Choczini,* in 1674, 

• Or Chotsin, a town of Upper Moldavia in European 
Turkey, well fortified both by nature aud art, situated oa 
the Driester, aud subject to the Turks, from whom it 
B-as taken by the Russians in 1739. 


which paved his way co the throne. Alexis dis- 
puted this very throne with him, and proposed 
to unite his extensive dominions to Poland, as 
the Jagellons had done ; but in regard to Li- 
thuania, the greatness of his offer was the cause 
of its being rejected. He is said to have been 
very deserving of the new kingdom, by the man- 
ner in which he governed his own. He was the 
first who caused a body of laws to be digested 
in Russia, though imperfect ; and introduced both 
linen and silk nu'inufactures, which indeed were 
not long kept up ; nevertheless, he had the merit 
of their first establishment. He peopled the 
deserts about the Wolga and the Kama, with 
Lithuanian, Polish, and Tartarian families, whom 
he had taken prisoners in his wars : before his 
reign, all prisoners of war were the slaves of 
those to wliose lot they fell. Alexis employed 
them in agriculture : he did his utmost endea- 
vours to introduce discipline among his troops, 
in a word, he was worthy of being the father of 
Peter the Great ; but he had no time to perfect 
what he had begun, being snatched away by a 
sudden death, at the age of forty-six, in the 
beginning of the year 1677, according to our st)'le, 
which is eleven days forwarder than that of 

Upon the death of Alexis, son of Michael, all 
fell again into confusion. He left, by his first mar- 
riage, two princes, and six princesses. Theodore, 
the eldest, ascended the throne at fifteen years of 
age. He was a priice of a weak and sickly con- 
stitution, but of merit superior to his bodily in- 
firmities. His father Alexis had caused him to 
be acknowledged his successor, a year before his 
death : a conduct observed by the kings of France 


from Hugh Capet down to Lewis tbe Young, and 
by many other crowned heads. 

The second son of Alexis was Iwan, or John, 
who was still worse treated by nature than his 
brother Theodore, being almost blind and dumb, 
very infirm, and frequently attacked with convul- 
sions. Of six daughters, bom of this first mar- 
riage, the only one who made any figure in Europe 
was the princess Sophia, who was remarkable for 
her great talents ; but unhappily still more so for 
the mischief she intended against Peter the Great. 

Alexis, by his second marriage with another of 
his subjects, daughter of the boyard Nariskin, had 
Peter and the princess Nathalia. Peier was bom 
the 3()th of ]May (or the 10th of June new stile), 
in the vear 167 '2, and was but four } ears old when 
he lost his father. As the children of a second mar- 
riage were not much regarded in Russia, it was 
little expected that he would one dav mount the 

It had ever been the character of the family of 
RomLmow to civilize their state. It was also that 
of Theodore. We have already remarked, in 
speaking of Moscow, that this prince encouraged 
the inhabitants of that city to h\ ild a great number 
of stone bouses. He likewise enlarged that capi- 
tal, and made several useful regulations in the 
general police ; but, by attempting to reform the 
boyards, he made them all his enemies : besides, 
he was not possessed of sufficient knowledge, 
vigour, or resolution, to venture upon making a 
general reformation. The war with the Turks, or 
rather with the Crim Tartars, in which he was 
constantly engaged with alternate success, would 
not permit a prince of his weak state of health to 
attempt so great a work. Theodore, like the rest 
of his predecessors, married one of his own sub- 
jects, a native of the frontiers of Poland ; but hav- 


ing lost her in less than a year after their nuptials, 
he took for his second wife, iu 168i, Martha 
Matweowna, daughter of the secretary Nariskin.* 
Some months after this marriage, he was seized 
with the disorder which ended his days, and died 
without leaving any children. As the czars mar- 
ried without regard to birth, they might likewise 
(at least at that time) appoint a successor without 
respect to primogeniture. The dignity of consort 
and heir to the sovereign seemed to be entirely 
the reward of merit ; and, in that respect, the 
custom of this empire was much preferable to the 
customs of more civilized states. 

Theodore, before he expired, seeing that his 
brother Iwan was by his natural infirmities in- 
capable of governing, nominated his younger 
brother Peter, heir to the empire of Russia. Peter, 
who was then only in his tenth year, had already 
given the most promising hopes. 

If, on the one hand, the custom of raising a 
subject to the rank of czarina, was favourable to 
the females, there was another which was no less 
hard upon them ; namely, that the daughters of 
the czars were very seldom married, but were 
most of them obliged to pass their lives in a 

The princess Sophia, third daughter of czar 
Alexis, by his first marriage, was possessed of 
abilities, equally great and dangerous. Perceiv- 
ing that her brother Theodore had not long to live, 
she did not retire to a convent ; but finding her- 
self situated between two brothers, one of whom 
was incapable of governing, through his natural 
inability ; and the other, on account of his youth, 

• This must certainly be a mistake of M. de Voltaire, 
or an error in the pres^s ; for the lady here spoken of WM 
the daughter of Matthias Apraxim, a person on whom 
Theodore had lately conferred nobility. 



she conceived the design of j. lacing herself at the 
head of the empire. Hence, in the last hours of 
czar Theodore, she attempted to act the part that 
Pulcheria had formerly played with her brother, 
the emperor Theodosius. 



Horrible Sedition among the Strelitzes.* 

1682. r^ZAR Theodore's eyes were scarcely 
closed, when the nomination of a 
prince of only ten years old to the throne, the ex- 
clusion of the elder brother, and the intrigues of 
the princess Sophia, their sister, excited a most 
bloody revolt among the strelitzes. Never did 
the janissaries, nor the praetorian guards, exercise 
more horrible barbarities. The insurrection be- 
gan two days after the interment of Theodore, 
when they all ran to arms in the Kremlin, which 
is the imperial palace at Moscow. There they 
began with accusing nine of their colonels, for 
keeping back part of their pay. The ministry 
was obliged to break the colonels, and to pay the 
strelitzes the money they demanded : but this did 
not satisfy them, they insisted upon having these 
nine officers delivered up to them, and condemned 
them, by a majority of votes, to suflFer the Battogs, 
or Knout ; the manner of which punishment is as 
follows : — 

The delinquent is stripped naked, and laid flat 
*n his belly, while two executioners beat him 
,iPver the back with switches, or small canes, till 

• Extracted wholly from the memoirs sent from 
Moscow and Petersburg. 


the judge, who stands by to see the sentence put 
in execution, says, * It is enough.' The colonels, 
after being thus treated by their men , were obliged 
to return them thanks, according to the custom of 
the eastern nations ; where criminals, after un- 
dergoing their punishment, must kiss the judge's 
hand. Besides complying with this custom, the 
officers gave them a sum of money, which was 
something more than the custom. 

While the strelitzes thus began to make them- 
selves formidable, the princess Sophia, who se- 
cretly encouraged them, in order to lead them by 
degrees from crime to crime, held a meeting at 
her house, consisting of the princesses of the blood , 
the generals of the army, the boyards, the patri- 
arch, the bishops, and even some of the principal 
merchants ; where she represented to them, that 
prince John, by right of birch and merit, was en- 
titled to the em})ire, the reigns of which she in- 
tended to keep in her own liands. At the break- 
ing up of the assembly, she caused a promise to 
be made to the strelitzes, of an augmentation of 
pay, besides considerable presents. Her emis- 
saries were in particular employed to stir up the 
soldiery against the Nariskin family, especially 
the two brothers of the young dowager cz;irina, 
the mother of Peter the First. These persuaded 
the strelitzes, that one of the brothers, named 
John, had put on the imperial robes, had seated 
himself on the throne, and had attempted to 
strangle prince John ; adding, moreover, that the 
late czar Theodore had been poisoned by a villain, 
named Daniel Vongad, a Dutch physician. At 
last Sophia put into their hands a list of forty 
noblemen, whom she stiled enemies to their corps, 
and to the state, and as such worthy of death. 
These proceedings exactly resembled the pro- 
sctiptions of Sylla, and the Roman triumvirate. 


which had been revived by Christian II. in Den- 
mark and Sweden, This may serve to shew, that 
such cruelties prevail in all countries in times of 
anarchy and confusion. The mutineers began the 
tragedy with throwing the two knez, or princes, 
Dolgorouki and IMatheof, out of the palace-win- 
dows ; whom the strelitzes received upon the 
points of their spears, then stripped them, and 
dragged their dead bodies into the great square ; 
after this they rushed into the palace, where meet- 
ing with Athanasius Nariskin, a brother of the 
young czarina, and one of the unclesof czar Peter, 
they murdered him in like manner ; then break- 
ing open the door of a neighbouring church, where 
three of the proscribed persons had taken refuge, 
they drag them from the altar, strip them naked, 
and stab them to death with knives. 

They were so blinded with their fury, that see- 
ing a young nobleman of the family of Soltikoff, a 
great favourite of theirs, and who was not in- 
cluded in the list of the proscribed, and some of 
them mistaking him for John Nariskin, whom 
they were in search of, they murdered him upon 
the spot ; and what plainly shews the manners 
of those times, after having discovered their 
error, they carried the body of yoang SoltikofF, to 
his father to bury it ; and the wretched parent, 
far from daring to complain, gave them a consi- 
derable reward for bringing him the mangled 
body of his son. Being reproached by his wife, 
his daughters, and the widow of the deceased, 
for his weakness, • Let us wait for an opportunity 
of being revenged,' said the old man. These 
words being overheard by some of the soldiers, 
they returned furiously back into the room, 
dragged the aged parent by the hair, and cut his 
throat at his own door. 

Another party of the strelitzes, who wero 


•couring the city in search of the Dutch physi- 
cian, Vongad, met with his son, of whom they 
inquired for his father ; the youth trembling, re- 
plied, he did not know where he was, upon 
which they immediately dispatched him. Soon 
after, a German physician falling in their way, 
' You are a doctor,' said they, ' and if you did 
not poison our master, Theodore, you have 
poisoned others, and therefore merit death ;' and 
thereupon killed him. 

At length they found the Dutchman, of whom 
they were in quest, disguised in the garb of a 
beggar; they instantly drag him before the 
palace. The princesses who loved this worthy 
man, and placed great confidence in his skill, 
begged the strelitzes to spare him, assuring 
them that he was a very good physician, and had 
taken all possible care of their brother Theodore. 
The strelitzes made answer, that he not only de- 
served to die as a physician, but also as a sor- 
cerer ; and that they had found in his house, a 
great dried toad, and the skin of a serpent. They 
furthermore required to have young Nariskin de- 
livered up to them, whom they had searched for 
in vain for two days : alleging, that he was cer- 
tainly in the palace, and that they woul-.' set fire 
to it, unless lie was put into their hands. The 
sisterof John Nariskin, and theother princesses, 
terrified by their menaces, went to acquaint their 
unhappy brother in the place of his concealment, 
with what had passed-; upon which the patriarch 
heard his confession, administers the viaticum, 
and extreme unction to him, and then, taking 
an image of the blessed Virgin, which was said 
to perform miracles, he leads the young man 
forth by the hand, and presents him to the stre- 
litzes, shewing them, at the same time, the image 
of the Virgin. The princesses, who in tears s\ii» 


rounded Nariskin, falling upon their kn?es before 
the soldiers, besought them, in the name of the 
blessed Virgin, to spare their relation's life ; but 
the inhuman wretches tore him from their arms, 
and dragged him to the foot of the stairs, toge- 
ther with the phvsician Vongad, where they 
held a kind of tribunal among themselves, and 
condemned them both eo be put to the torture. 
One of the soldiers, who could write, drew up a 
form of accusation, and sentenced the two unfor- 
tunate princes to be cut in pieces ; a punishment 
inflicted in China and Tartary on parricides, and 
called the punishment of ten thousand slices. 
After having thus used Nariskin and Vongad, 
tbev exposed their heads, feet, and hands, on the 
iron points of a balustrade. 

While this partv of the strelitzes were thus 
glutting their fury in the sight of the princesses, 
the rest massacred every one who was obnoxious 
to them, or suspected by the princess Sophia. 

This horrid tragedy concluded with proclaim- * 
iug the two princes, John and Peter, in June, 
1682, joint sovereigns, and associating their 
sister Sophia with them, in the quality of co- 
regent ; who then publicly approved of ail their 
outrages, gave them rewards, confiscated the es- 
tates of the proscribed, and bestowed them upon 
their murderers. She even permitted them to 
erect a monument, with the names of the per- 
sons they had murderetl. as being traitors to their 
country : and to crown all, she published letters- 
patent, thanking them for their zeal and fidelity. 

PETEFy the great. 63 


Administration of the princess Sophia. Extraordi- 
nary quarrel about religion. A conspiracy. 

CUCH were tlie steps by which the princess 
Sophia did in effect ascend the throne of 
Russia, though without being declared czarina ; 
and such the examples that Peter the First had 
before his eyes. Sophia enjoyed all the honours 
of a sovereign ; her bust was on the public coin ; 
she signed all dispatches, held the first place in 
council, and enjoyed a power without control. 
She was possessed of a great share of under- 
standing, and some wit ; made verses in the Rus- 
sian language, and both spoke and wrote ex- 
tremely well. These talents were set off by the 
addition of an agreeable person, and sullied only 
by her ambition. 

She procured a wife for her brother John, in 
the manner already described in several exam- 
ples. A young lady named Soltikoff, of the fa- 
mily with the nobleman of that name who had 
been assassinated by the seditious slrelitzes, was 
sent for from the heart of Siberia, where her fa- 
ther commanded a fortress, to be presented to 
czar John at Moscow. Her beauty triumphed 
over all the intrigues of her rivals, and John was 
married to hfr in 168-1. At every marriage of a 
czar we seem to read the history of Ahasuerus, 
or that of Theodosius the Younger. 

In the midst of the rejoicings on account of 
this marriage, the strelitzes raised a new insur- 
rection, and (who would believe itl) on account 
of religion! of a particular tenet! Had they 
been mere soldiers, they would never have !«}- 
come coutroveriists, but they were also citi- 


zens cf Moscow. Whosoever has, or assumes 
a right of speaking in an authoritative manner 
to the populace, may found a sect. This has 
been seen in all ages, and all parts of the world, 
especially since the passion of dogmatizing has 
become the instrument of ambition, and the terror 
of weak minds. 

Russia had experienced some previous disturb- 
ances on occasion of a dispute, whether the sign 
of the cross vras to be made with three fingers, or 
with two ! One Abakum, who was also a priest, 
had set up sc:ne new tenets at Moscow, in re- 
gard to the Holy Spirit ; which according to the 
Scriptures, enlightened all the faithful ; as like- 
wise with respect to the equality of the primitive 
Christians, and these words of Christ : — ' There 
shall be amongst jou neither first nor last.' 
Several citizens and many of the strelitzes, em- 
braced the opinions of Abakum. One Raspop* 
was the chief of this party, which became consi- 
derable. The sectaries, at length, entered (July 
16, 1682, new stile) the cathedral, where 
the patriarch and his clergy were officiating ; 
drove them out of the church with stones, and 
seated themselves very devoutly in their places, 
to receive the Holy Spirit. They called the pa- 
triarch the ' ravenous wolf in the sheepfold ;' a 
title which all sects have liberally bestowed on 
each other. The princess Sophia, and the two 
czars, were immediately made acquainted with 
these disturbances: and the other strelitzes, who 
were stauuch to the good old cause, were given 
to understand, that the czars and the church 
were in danger. Upon this the strelitzes and 

• Here M. de Voltaire seems to have greatly mistaken 
the sense of this word. Raspop not being a proper 
name, in which sense he takes it, but signifies a degraded 


burghers of the patriarchal party attacked the 
Abakumists : but a stop was put to the carnage, 
by publishing a convocation of a council, which 
was immediately assembled in a hall of the 
palace. This took up very little time, for they 
obliged every priest they met to attend. The 
patriarch, and a bishop, disputed against Ras- 
pop ; but at the second syllogism, they began to 
throw stones at one another. The council ended 
wi;h ordering Raspop, and some of his faithful 
disciples to have their heads struck off; and the 
s ntence was executed by the sole order of the 
three sovereigns, Sophia, John, and Peter. 

During these troubles, there was a knez, named 
Chowanskoi, who having been instrumental in 
raising the princess Sophia to the dignity she then 
held, wanted, as a reward for his services, to 
have a share in the administration. 

It may be supposed, that he found Sophia not 
so grateful as he could wish ; upon which he es- 
poused the cause of religion, and the persecuted 
Raspopians, and stirred up a party among the 
streliizes and the people, in defence of God's 

This conspiracy proved a more serious affair 
than the tnthusiastic riot of Raspop. An ambi- 
tious hypocrite always cairies things farther than 
a simple fanatic. Chowanskoi aimed at no less 
than the imperial dignity ; and to rid himself of 
all cause of fear, he resolved to murder the two 
czars, Sophia, the other princesses, and every 
one who was attached to the imperial family. 
The czars and tlie princesses were obliged to re- 
tire to the monastery of the Holy Trinity, within 
twelve leagues of Petersburg.* 'I'his was, at the 
same time, a convent, a palace, and a fortress, 

* We suppose the author meaiis Moscow. 

6b HlSTORi' OF 

like Mount Cassino,* Corby, t Fulda f Kempten,$ 
and several others belonging to the Latin church. 
This monastery of the Trinity belongs to the 
monks of St. Basil. It is surrounded by deep 
ditches, and ramparts of brick, on which is planted 
a numerous artillery. The monks are possessed 
of all the country round for four leagues. The 
imperial family were in full safely there, but more 
on account of the strength, than the sanctity of 
the place. Here Sophia treated with the rebel 
knez ; and having decoyed him halfway, caused 
his head to bf struck off, together with those of 
.^jj„ one of his sons, and thirty-seven stre- 
litzes who accompanied him. 
The body of strelitzes upon this news, fly to 
arms, and march to attack the convent of Trinity, 
threatening to destroy every thing that canie in 
their way. The imperial family stood upon their 
defence ; the boyards arm their vassals, all ihe 
gentlemen flocked in, and a bloody civil war 
seemed on the point of beginning. The patriarch 
somewhat pacified the strelitzes, who began to 
be intimidated with the number of troops that 
were marching towards them on all sides : in short, 
their fury was changed into fear, and their fear 
into the most abject submission ; a change com- 

• Or Cossano, a small town and abbey in the Milanese. 
Oa the Adda, near this place, an obstinate battle waa 
fought between the Germans and French, in 17. ">5, when 
prince Eugene defeated the duke of Vendome. 

f A town and abbey on the borders of Westphalia, in 
Germany ; the abbot of which is a sovereign prince, and 
has a seat in the imperial diet. 

X Or Fuld, a town and abbey of Hesse, in Germany ; 
■itnate on a river of the same name. It is governed by 
tn abbot, who is a prince of the empire, 

9 An imperial city of Suabia, in Germany, situate ov 
the Ifar 


moD to the multitude. Three thousand seven 
hundred of this corps, followed by their wives 
and children, with ropes tied about their necks, 
went in procession to the convent of the Trinity, 
which three days before they had threatened to 
burn to the ground. In this condition, these un- 
happy wretches present themselves before the 
gate of the convent, two by two, one carrying a 
block and another an axe ; and prostrating them- 
selves on the ground, waited for their sentence. 
They were pardoned upon their submission, and 
returned back to Moscow, blessing their sove- 
reigns ; and still disposed, though unknown to 
themselves, to commit the same crime upon the 
very first opportunity. 

These commotions being subsided, the state 
resumed an exterior of tranquillity; but Sophia 
still remained possessed of the chief authority, 
leaving John to his incapacity, and keeping Peter 
in the subjection of a ward. In order to strengthen 
her power, she shared it with Prince Basil Ga- 
litzin, whom she created generalissimo, mmister 
of slate, and lord keeper. Galitzin was in every 
respect superior to any person in that distracted 
court : he was polite, magnificent, full of great 
designs, more learned than any of his country- 
men, as having received a much better education, 
and was even master of the l^atin tongue, which 
was, at that time, almost entirely unknown in 
Russia. He was of an active and indefatigable 
spirit, had a genius superior to the times he lived 
in, and capable, had he had leisure and power, 
as he had inclination, to have changed the face 
of things in Russia. This is the eulogium given 
of him by La Neuville, at that time the Polisii 
envoy in Russia; and the encomiums of foreigner* 
are seldom to be suspected. 

Thia minister bridled the. insolence of the stBT- 


litzes, by distributing the most mutinous of that 
body among the several regiments in the Ukraine, 
in Casan, and Siberia. It was under his admi- 
nistration that the Poles, long the rivals of Rus- 
sia, gare up, in 1686, all pretensions to the large 
provinces ofSmolensko and the Ukraine. He 
was the first who sent an embassy to France, in 
1687; a country which had, for upwards of 
twenty years, been in the zenith of its glory, by 
the conquests, new establishments, and the mag- 
nificence of Lewis XIV. and especially by the 
improvement of the arts, there can be not only 
external grandeur, but solid glory. France had 
not then entered into any correspondence with 
Russia, or rather was unacquainted with that em- 
pire ; and the academy of inscriptions ordered a 
medal to be struck to couimemorate this embassy, 
as if it had come from the most distant part of 
the Indies ; but notwithstanding all this, the am- 
bassador Dolgorouski miscarried in his negotia- 
tion, and even suffered some gross affronts on ac- 
count of the behaviour of his domestics, whose 
mistakes it would have been better to have over- 
looked ; but the court of Lewis XIV. could not 
then foresee, that France and Russia would one 
day reckon among the number of their advan- 
tages, that of being cemented by the closest union. 

Russia t^as now quiet at home, but she was 
still pent up on the side of Sweden, though en- 
larged towards Poland, her new ally, in continual 
alarms on the side of Crim Tartar v, and at va- 
riance with China in regard to the frontiers. 

The most intolerable circumstance for their em- 
pire, and which plainlv shewed, that it had not yet 
attained to a vigorous and regular administration, 
was, that the khan of the Crim Tartars exacted 
an annual tribute of 6000 rubles, in the nature 
of that which the I'urk had imposed on the Poles. 


Crim Tartary is the ancieut Taurica Cherso- 
nesus, formerly so famous by the commerce of 
the Greeks, and still more by their fables, a 
fruitful but barbarous country. It took, its name 
of Crimea, or Crim, from the title of its first khans, 
who took this name before the conquests of the 
sons of Gengis Khan. To free his country from 
this yoke, and wipe off the disgrace of such tri- 
bute, the prime minister, Galitzin, marched in 
person (1687, 16B8,) into Crim Tartar)% at the 
head of a numerous army. These armies were 
not to be compared to the present troops ; they 
had no discipline ; there was hardly one regi- 
ment completely armed ; they had no uniform 
clothing, no regularity : their men indeed were 
inured to hard labour and a scarcity of provisions, 
but then they carried with. them such a prodi- 
gious quantity of baggage, as far exceeded any 
thing of the kind in our camps, where the great- 
est luxury prevails. Their vast numbers of wag- 
gons for carrying ammunition and provisions, in 
an uninhabitable and desert country, greatly re- 
tarded the expedition against Crim rartary. The 
army found itself in the midst of the vast deserts, 
on the river Samara, unprovided with magazines. 
Here Galitzin did what in my opinion, was never 
done any where else : he employed thirty thou- 
sand men in building a town on the banks of 
the Samara, to serve as a place for magazines 
in the ensuing campaign : it was begun in one 
year, and finii^hed in the third month of the fol- 
lowing ; the houses indeed were all wood except 
two, which were brick ; the ramparts were of 
turf, but well lined with artillery ; and the whole 
place was in a tolerable state of defence. 

This was all that was done of any consequence 
in this ruinous expedition. In the mean while 
Sophia continued to govern in Moscow, while 


John had only the name of czar ; and Petei 
now at the age of seventeen, had already tbi 
courage to aim at real S!;vereignty. La Neuville, 
the Polish envoy, then resident at Moscow, and 
who was eye-witness to all that passed, pretends 
that Sophia and Galitzin had engaged the new 
chief of the screlilzes, to sacrifice to them their 
young czar : it appears, at least, that six hun- 
dred of these strelitzes were to have made them- 
selves masters of his person. The private me- 
moirs which hate been entrusted to my perusal 
by the court of Russia, afl5rm, that a scheme had 
actually been laid to murder Peter the First : 
the blow was on the point of being struck, and 
Russia for ever deprived of the new existence 
she has since received. The czar was once 
more obliged to take refuge in the convent of 
the Trinity, the usual asylum of the court when 
threatened by the soldiers. There he assembled 
the boyards of his party, raised a body of forces, 
treats with the captains of the strelitzes, and 
called in the assistance of certain Germans, who 
had been long settled in Moscow, and were all 
attached to his person from his having already 
slie-R-n himself the encourager of strangers. Sophia 
and John, who continued at Mo.scow, used every 
means to engage the strelitzes to remain firm to 
their interests ; but the cause of young Peter, 
who loudly complained of an attempt meditated 
against himself and his mother, prevailed over 
that of the princess, and of a czar, whose very 
aspect alienated all hearts. All the acomplices 
were punished with a severity to which that 
country was as much accustomed as to tbe crimes 
which occasioned it. Some were beheaded after 
undergoing the punishment of the knout or bat- 
tocks The chief of the strelitzes was put to 
death in the same manner, and several other 


•uspected persons had their tongues cut out. 
Prince Galitzin escaped with his life, through 
the intercession of one of his relations, who was 
a favourite of czar Peter ; but he was stripped 
of all his riches, which were immense, and ba- 
nished to a phice in the neighbourhood of Arch- 
angel. La Neuville, who was present at the 
whole of this catastrophe, relates, that the sen- 
tence pronounced upon Galitziu was in these 
terms : ' Thou art commanded, by the most cle- 
ment czar, to repair to Karga, a town under the 
pole, and there to continue the remainder of thy 
days. His majesty, out of his extreme goodness, 
allows thee three pence per day for thy sub- 

There is no town under the pole. Karga is 
in the 62d degree of latitude, and only six de- 
grees and a half further north than Moscow. 
Whoever pronounced this sentence must have 
been a very bad geographer. La Neuville was 
probably imposed upon by a false account. 

1689.] At length the princess Sophia was once 
more sent back to her monastery at Moscow,* 
after having so long held the reins of government; 
and this revolution proved, to a woman of her 
disposition, a sufficient punishment. 

From this instant Peter began to reign in 
reality ; his brother John havin;,^ no other share 
in the government, but that of seeing his name to 
all public acts. He led a retired life, and died 
in 1646. 

* How are we to reconcile this with what the author 
tells u« in the latter part of the third chapter, where ho 
•ays, that this princess, ;»erceiTing that her brother Theo- 
dore was near his end, declined retiring to a convent, a* 
was the uBoal custom ti the princessea of the imperial 



The reigc of Peter the First. — Beginning of 
the grand reformation. 

pETERthe Great was tall, genteel, well-made, 
with a noble aspect, piercing eyes and a ro- 
bust constitution, fitted for all kinds of hardship 
and bodily exercise. He had a sound under- 
standing, which is the basis of all real abilities ; 
and to this was joined an active disposition, 
which prompted him to undertake and execute 
the greatest things. His education was far from 
being worthy of his genius. The princess Sophia 
was, in a peculiar manner, interested to let him 
remain in ignorance, and to indulge himself in 
those excesses which youth, idleness, custom, 
and the high rank he held, made but too allow- 
able. Nevertheless, he had been lately married, 
(June 1689) like others of his predecessors, to one 
of his own subjects, the daughter of colonel La- 
puchin ; but, as he was young, and for some time 
enjoyed none of the prerogatives of the crown, 
but that of indulging his pleasures without re- 
straint, the ties of wedlock were not always suf- 
ficient to keep him within just bounds. The 
pleasures of the table, in which he indulged him- 
self rather too freely, with foreigners, who had 
been invited to Moscow by prince Galitzin, 
seemed not to presage that he would one day be- 
come the reformer of his country ; however, in 
spite of bad examples, and even the allurements 
of pleasure, he applied himself to the arts of 
war and government, and which, even then, 
shewed that he had the seeds of greatness in him. 
It was still less expected, that a prince, who 
was subject to such a constitutional dread of 
water, as to subject him to cold sweats, and even 


convulsions, when be was obliged to cross asnnall 
river or brook, should become one of the best 
seamen in all the north. In order to get the 
better of nature, he began by jumping into the 
water, notwithstanding the horror he felt at it, 
till at length this aversion was changed into a 
fondness for that element.* 

He often blushed at the ignorance in which he 
had been brought up. He learned, almost of him- 
self, without the help of a master, enough of Ger- 
man and high Dutch, to be able to write and ex- 
plain himself tolerably well in both those lan- 
guages. The Germans and Dutch appeared to 
him as the most civilized nations, because the 
former had already erected, in Moscow, some of 
those arts and manufactures which he was de- 
sirous of seeing established in his empire', and the 
latter excelled in the art of navigation, which he 
already began to look upon as the most necessary 
of all others. 

Such were the dispositions which Peter che- 
rished, notwithstanding the follies of his youth. 
At the same time, he found himself disturbed by 
factions at home, had the turbulent spirit of the 
Btrelitzes to keep under, and an almost uninter- 

• We find, in the memoirs of count Strahlemberg, a 
Swedish ofl&cer, who was taken prisoner at the battle of 
Pultowa, and continued many years at the court of czar 
Peter, the following account of the true cause of this ex- 
traordinary kind of hydrophobia. When Peter was about 
five jears of age, his mother took him with her in a 
coach for an airing, and having to pass a dam, where 
there was a great fall of water the child, who was then 
sleeping in his nurse's lap, was so terrified by the rush- 
ing of the water (the noise of which waked him sud- 
denly out of his sleep), that he was seized with a violent 
fever, and, after his recover^', he retained sucli a dread 
of that element, that he could not bear the 8i2;ht even of 
any standing water, much leas to bear n running stream 


mpted war to manage against the Grim Tartars, 
For thotigh hostilities had been suspended in 
1689, by a truce, it had no long continuance. 

During this interval, Peter became confirmed in 
his design of introducing the arts into his couctrv. 

His father Alexis had, in his lifetime, enter- 
tained the same views, but he wanted leisure, 
and a favourable opportunity to carry them into 
execution ; he transmitted his genius to his son, 
who was more clear-sighted, more vigorous, and 
more unshaken by difficulties and obstacles. 

Alexis had been at a great expense in sending 
for Bothler,* a ship builder and sea captain, from 
Holland, together with a number of shipwrights 
and sailors. These built a large frigate and a 
yacht up.on the Wolga, which they navigated 
down that river to Astracan, where they were to 
be employed in building more vessels, for carry- 
ing on an advantageous trade with Persia, by the 
Caspian Sea. Just at this time the revolt of 
Stenko-Rasin broke out, and this rebel destroyed 
these two vessels, which he ought to }iave pre- 
served for his O'rni sake, and murdered the cap- 
tain ; the rest of the crew fled into Persia, from 
whence they got to some settle<nents belonging 
to the Dutch East India company. A mastsi- 
builder, who was a good shipwright, staid behind 
in Russia, where he lived a long time in obscurity. 

One day, Peter taking a walk at Ishmaelof, a 
summer-palace built by his grandfather, he per- 
ceived, among several other rarities, an old Eng- 
lish shallop, which had lain entirely neglected : 
upon which he asked Timmerman, a German, 
and his mathematical teacher, how came that 
little boat to be of so different a construction from 
any he had seen on the iMoska 1 Timmerman re 
plied, that it was made to go with sails and oars. 
* Memoirs of Petersburg and Moscow. 


1 be young prince wanted instantly to make a 
ti >al of it ; but it was first to be repaired and rig- 
gti. Brant, the ship-builder abovementioned, 
wa<i by accident found out at INIoscow, where he 
lived retired ; he soon put the boat in order, and 
worked her upon the river Yauza, which washes 
the suburbs of the town. 

Peter caused his boat to be removed to a great 
lake, in the neighbourhood of the convent of the 
Trinity ; he likewise made Brant build two more 
frigates, and three yachts, and piloted them him- 
self. A considerable time afterwards, viz. in 
1694, he made a journey to Archangel, and having 
ordered a small vessel to be built in that port, by 
the same Brant, he embarked therein on the 
Frozen Sea, which no sovereign beside himself 
had ever beheld. On this occasion, he was es- 
corted by a Dutch man of war, under the com- 
mand of captain Jolson, and attended by all the 
merchant-vessels then in the port of Archangel. 
He had already learned the manner of working 
a ship ; and, notwithstanding the pains his cour- 
tiers took to imitate their master, he was the only 
one who made a proficiency in it. 

He found it no less diflScult to raise a well dis- 
ciplined body of land forces, on whom he could 
depend, than to establish a navy. His first essay 
in navigation, on a lake, previous to his journey to 
Archangel, was looked upon only as the amuse- 
ments of a young prince of genius ; and his first 
attempt to form a body of disciplined troops, like- 
wise appeared as nothing more than that of di- 
Tersion. This happened during the regency of 
the princess Sophia ; and, had he been suspected 
of meaning any thing serious by this amusement, 
it might have been attended with fatal conse- 
quences to him. 

He placed his confidence in a foreigner, the 


celebrated Le Fort, of a noble and ancient family 
in Piedmont, transplanted near two centuries ago 
to Geneva, where they have filled the most con- 
siderable posts in the state. He was intended 
to have been brought up to the trade, to which 
the town is indebted for the figure it now makes ; 
having formerly been known only as the seat of 
religious controversies. 

But his genius, which prompted him to the 
greatest undertakings, engaged him to quit his 
father's house at the age of fourteen ; and he 
served four months* in quality of a cadet in the 
citadel of Marseilles ; from thence he went to 
Holland, where he served some time as a volun- 
teer, and was wounded at the siege of Grave, a 
strong fortified town on the jVIeuse, which the 
prince of Orange, afterwards king of England, 
retook from Lewis XIV. in \69-i:. After this, 
led by hopes of preferment, wherever he could 
find it, he embarked with a German colonel, 
named Verstin, who had obtained a commission 
from Peter's father, the czar Alexis, to raise sol- 
diers in the Netherlands, and bring them to Arch- 
angel. But, when he arrived at that port, after 
a most fatiguing and dangerous navigation, the 
czar Alexis was no more ; the government wsa 
changed, and Russia in confusion. The governor 
of Archangel suffered Verstin, Le Fort, and his 
whole troop, to remain a long time, in the utmost 
poverty and distress, and even threatened to send 
them into the extremity of Siberia ; upon which 

• Thia sliould certainly be four years ; as we can 
hardly suppose a boy of fourteen j'ears and a half, would 
be received iuto the military service of any cou3tr3', and 
much less by the Dutch at that period of time, when they 
«tood in need of able and experienced soldiers, to with- 
stand the attacks of the French, who breathed DOthing 
less than the utter subversion of their state. 


every mtin shifted for himself. Le Fort, in want 
of every thing, repaired to INIcscfw. where he 
waited upon the Danish resident, named De Horn, 
who made him his secretary : there he learned 
the Russian language, and some time afterwards 
found means to be introduced to the czar Peter ; 
the elder brother, Iwan, not being a person for 
his purpose. Peter was taken with him, and im- 
mediately gave him a company of foot. Le Fort 
had seen very little service, he knew but little 
of letters, not having studied any particular art 
or science ; hut he had seen a great deal, and 
had a talent of making the most of what he saw. 
Like the czar, he owed every thing to his own 
genius ; he understood the German and Dutch 
languages, which Peter was learning, as those 
of two nations that might bt of service in his de- 
signs. Every thing conspired to make him agree- 
able to Peter, to %vhom he strictly attached him- 
self. From being the companion of his pleasures, 
he became his favourite, and confirmed himself 
in that station by his abilities. The czar made 
him his confidant in the most dangerous design 
that a prince of that country could possibly form, 
namely, that of putting himself in a condition to 
be able one day to break the seditious and bar- 
barous body of forces called the strelitzes. It 
had cost the great sultan or basha Osman his life, 
for attempting to disband the janissaries. Peter, 
young as he was, went to work in a much abler 
manner than Osman. 

He began with forming, at his country-seat at 
Preobrazineki, a company of fifty of his youngest 
domestics ; and some young gentlemen, the sons 
of boyards, were chosen for their officers : but, 
in order to teach these young noblemen a subor- 
dination, to which they were wholly unaccus- 
Vimed, he made them pass through all the dif- 


ferent military degrees, and himself set them the 
example, by serving first as a drum, then as a 
private soldier, a serjeant, and a lieutenant of 
the company. Nothing was ever more extraor- 
dinarv, nor more useful, than this conduct. The 
Russians had hitherto made war in the same man- 
ner as our ancestors at the time of the feudal 
tenures, when the unexperienced nobles took the 
field at the head of their vassals, undisciplined, 
and ill armed : a barbarous method, sufficient in- 
deed to act against the like armies, but of no use 
against regular troops. 

This company, which was formed wholly by 
Peter himself, soon increased in numbers, and 
became afterwards the regiment of Preobrazinski 
guards. Another regiment, formed on the same 
plan, became in time the regiment of Semeni- 
oujiky guards. 

The czar had already a regiment of five thou- 
sand men that could be depended upon, trained 
by general Gordon, a Scotchman, and composed 
almost entirely of foreigners. Le Fort, who had 
borne arms but a short tima, but whose capacity 
was equal to every thing, undertook to raise a 
regiment of twelve thousand men, which he ef- 
fected : five colonels were appointed to serve 
under him, and he saw himself on a sudden ge- 
neral of this little army, which had been raised, 
as much to oppose the strelitzes, as the enemies 
of the state. 

One thing worthy of being remarked,* and 
which fully confutes the hasty error of those who 
pretend that France lost very few of its inhabi- 
tants by the revocation of the edict of Nantz, is, 
that one- third of his army, which was only called 
a regiment, consisted of French refugees. L« 

• General Le Fort'ii MS& 


Fort disciplined his new troops, as if he had been 
aJl his lifetime a soldier. 

Peter was desirous of seeing one of those ima- 
ges of war, the mock fights, which had lately 
been introduced in times of peace: a fort was 
erected, which was to be attacked by one part of 
his new troops, and defended by the other. The 
difference between this fight, and others of the 
like nature, was, that instead of a sham engage- 
ment, there was a real one, in which some of his 
men were slain, and a great many wounded.* 
Le Fort, who commanded the attack, received a 
considerable wound. These bloody sports were 
intended to initiate the young troops into the 
service of the field ; but it required much labour, 
and even some degree of sufferings to compass 
this end. 

These warlike amusements did not take off the 
czar's attention to his naval project. As he had 
made Le Fort a general by land, notwithstand- 
ing his having never borne a command ; he now 
made him admiral, though he had never had the 
direction of a ship, but he knew him deserving 
both of the one and the other. It is true, that he 
was an admiral without a fleet, and a general 
with only his regiment for an army. 

By degrees the czar reformed that great abuse 
in tlie army, viz. the independence of the boy- 
ards, who, in time of war, used to bring into the 
field a multitude of their vassals and peasants: 
this was exactly tlie ancient government of the 
Franks, Huns, Goths, and Vandals, who indeed 
subdued the Roman empire in its state of de- 
cline, but would have been totally destroyed, had 
they had the warlike disciplined legions of ancient 
Rome to encounter, or such armies as are now 
broughf. into the field. 

• General Le Fon'a M9S. 


Admiral Le Fort was not long, however, be- 
fore he had something more than an empty title. 
He employed some Dutchmen and Venetians 
iu building, a number of barcolongos, or kind 
of long barks, and also two ships of about thirty 
guns each, at the mouth of the VVoroniiz, which 
falls into the Tanais, or Don : these vessels were 
to fall down the river, and keep in awe the Crini 
Tartars, with whom hostilities had been renewed. 

The czar was now to determine (in 1689^ 
against which of the following powers he would 
declare war, whether against the 1 urks, the 
Swedes, or the Chinese. Bat here it will be 
proper to premise on what terms he then stood 
with China, and which was the first treaty of 
peace concluded by that nation. 


Congress and Treaty with the Chinese.* 

'W/'E must set out by forming a proper idea of 
the limits of the Chinese and Russian em- 
pires at this period. When we leave Siberia, 
properly so called, and also far behind us to the 
south, a hundred hordes of Tartars, with white 
and black Calmucks, and Mahometan and Pagan 
Monguls, we come to the 130th degree of longi- 
tude, and the 52d of latitude upon the river 
Amur.t To the northward is a great chain of 
mountains, that stretches as far as the Frozen 

• Extracted from memoirs sent from China ; also from 
Petersburg, and from letters published in Du Halde's 
History of China. 

+ A famous and considerable river of the Asiatic part 
of the empire of Russia, which falls into the eastern 
ocean. It was formerly called Charan Mi»ran; but at 


Sea, beyond the |)oIar circle. This river, which 
runs upwarik of five hundred leagues,* through 
Siberia ard Chinese Tartary, falls, after many 
windings, into the sea of Kamtshalka. It is af- 
nrmed for a truth, that at its mouth, which opens 
with this sea, there is sometimes caught a mon- 
Ftrous fish, much larger than the hippopotamus 
of the Nile, and that the tooth thereof is the 
finest ivory. It is furthermore said, that this 
ivory was formerly an object of trade ; that 
they used to convey it through Siberia, which is 
the reason why several pieces of it are still found 
under the ground in that country. This is the 
most probable account of the fossil ivory, of 
which we have elsewhere spoken ; for it appears 
highly chimerical to pretend, that there were 
formerly elephants in Siberia. 

This Amur is likewise called the Black River 
by the Mantechoux Tartars, and the Dragon's 
River by the Chinese. 

It was in these countries, so long unknown, 
that the Russians and Chinese contested the li- 
mits of their empires. t Ihe Russians had some 
forts on the river Amur, about three hundred 
leagues from the great wall. Many hostilities 
had arisen between these two nations on account 
of these forts : at length both began to under- 
stand their interests better ; the emperor Camhi 
preferred peace and commerce to an unprofitable 

present the Chinese and Mauschurs give it the name of 
Sagalin Ula. It also bears the several appellations of Ja- 
mur, Onon, llelonfr, Kiang. and Skilka. It is formed by 
the junction of the rivers Sckilk and Argun, and is navi- 
gable to the sea. 

• Busching, the famous geograplier, says, that its whole 

length is no more than fonr hundred miles, so that there 

must be a verj' great error in one or other of these anthora, 

♦ Memoirs of the Jesuits Pere^ra and Gerbillon. 



•war, and seut several ambassadors to Niptchou. 
one of those settlements. J'he ambassadors had 
ten thousand men in their retinue, iucluding 
their escort; this was Asiatic pomp; but what 
is very remarkable, is, that there was not an ex- 
ample in the annals of the empire, of an embassy 
being sent to another potentate ; and what is 
still more singular, that the Chinese had never 
concluded a treaty of peace since the foundation 
of their monarchy. Though twice conquered by 
the Tartars, who attacked and subjected them, 
they never made war upon any people, except- 
ing a few hordes that were quickly subdued, or as 
quickly left to themselves, without any treaty. 
So that this nation, so renowned for morality, 
knew nothing of what we call the ' Law of na- 
tions ;' that is to say, of those vague rules of 
war and peace, of the privileges of foreign mi- 
nisters, of the formalities of treaties, nor of the 
obligations resulting from thence, nor of the 
disputes concerning precedency and point of 

But in what language were the Chinese to 
negotiate with the Russians, in the midst of de- 
serts ? This difl5culty was removed by two Jesuits, 
the one a Portuguese, named Pereira, the other a 
Frenchman, whose name was Gerbillon ; they set 
out from Pekin with the Chinese ambassadors, 
and were themselves the real negotiators. They 
conferred in Latin with a German belonging to 
the Russian embassy, who understood this lan- 
guage. The chief of that embassy was Golowin, 
governor of Siberia, who displayed a greater 
magnificence than the Chinese themselves, and 
thereby gave a high idea of the Russian empire, 
to a peo])le who thought themselves the only 
]X)werful nation under the sun. 

The two Jesuits settled the limits of both era- 


pires at the river Kerbechi, near the spot where 
the treaty concluded. xAll the country, to the 
southward of this line of partition, was adjudged 
to the Chinese, and the north to the Russians, 
who only lost a small fort which was found to 
have been built beyond the limits : a peace was 
agreed to, and after some few altercations, both 
parties swore to observe it. in the name of the 
same God ; * and in these terms, ' If any of us 
shall entertain the least thought of kindling anew 
the flames of war. we beseech the supreme Lord 
of all things, and who knows all hearts, to punish 
the traitor with sudden death.* 

From this form o*" treaty, used alike by Chinese 
and Christians, we may infer two important 
truths : the first, that the Chinese government is 
neither atheistical nor idolatrous, as has been so 
frequently and falsely charged upon it, by con- 
tradictory imputations. Secondly, that all na- 
tions, who cultivate the gift of reason and under- 
standing, do, in effect, acknowledge the same 
God, notwithstanding the particular deviations 
of that reason, through the want of being properly 

The treaty was drawn up in Latin, and two 
copies v/ere made of it. The Russian ambas- 
sadors set their names the first to the copy that 
remained in their possession, and the Chinese 
also signed theirs the first, agreeable to the cus- 
tom observed by European nations, when two 
equal powers conclude a treaty with each other. 
On this occvtion was observed another custom 
belonging to tlie Asiatic nations, and which was 
indeed, that of the earliest ages. The treaty 
was engraven on two large marble pillars, erected 
on the spot, to determine the boundaries of the 
two empires. 

* J689, Sept. 8. new style. Memoirs of Cbiso. 


Three years after this, the czar sent Isbrand 
Ides, a Dane, his ambassador to China ; and the 
commerce he then estaolished between the two 
nations, continued with advantage to each, till 
the rupture between them in the year 172 J ; but 
since this short interruption, it has been revived 
•vith redoubled vigour. 


Expedition to the Palus Maeotis ; conquest of Azoph.— 
The czar sends young gentlemen into foreign countries 
for improvement. 
TT was not so easy to have peace with the Turks, 
and indeed, the time seemed come for the 
Russians to rise upon their ruins. The republic 
of Venice, that had long groaned under their 
yoke, began now to rouse itself. The Doge 
^lorosini, the same who had surrendered Candy 
to the Turks, afterwards took from them the 
Peloponnesus, which conquest got him the title 
of Peloponnesian, an honour which revived the 
memory of the Roman republic. Leopold, em.- 
peror of Germany, had proved successful against 
the Ottoman power in Hungary ; and the Poles 
made shift to check the incursions of the Crim 

Peter took advantage of these circumstances, 
to discipline his troops, and to procure himselt 
the empire of the Black Sea. General Gurdon 
marched along the Tanais, towards Azoph, with 
his numerous regiment of five thousand men, 
followed by general Le Fort, with his regiment 
of twelve thousand ; by a body of Strelitzes, under 
the command of Sheremeto and Schein, na- 
tives of Prussia ; by a body of Cossacks, and by 
a large train of artillery : in a word, every thing 
was ready for this expedition. 


1694.] This grand army began its march under 
the command of marshal Shereraeto, or Sche- 
remejtofF, in the beginning of the summer of 1695, 
to attack the town of Azoph, at the mouth of the 
Tanais, and at the extremity of the Palus Maiotis, 
now called the Zaback Sea. The czrir himself 
was with the army, but only in quality of a vo- 
lunteer, being determined to learn, some time 
before he took upon him to command. During 
their march, they stormed two forts which the 
Turks had built on the banks of the river. 

This expedition was attended with some con- 
siderable difficulties. The place was well for- 
tified, and defended by a numerous garrison. A 
number of barcolongos, resembling the Turkish 
saicks, and built by Venetians, with two small 
Dutch ships of war, that were to sail out of the 
Woronitz, could not be got ready soon enough to 
enter the sea of Azoph. All beginnings meet 
with obstacles. The Russianshad never yet made 
a regular siege ; and the first attempt did not 
meet with all the success that could be desired. 

One .Tacob, a native of Dantzic. had the direc- 
tion of the artillery, under the command of general 
Schein ; for as yet they had none but foreign 
officers belonging to the train, and none but 
foreign engineers and pilots, ibis Jacob had 
been condemned to the bastinade, or knout, by 
.Schein, the Russian general. At that time 
rigorous discipline was thought to be the only 
method of strengthening command ; and the Rus- 
sians quietly submitted to it, notwithstanding 
their natural bent to sedition ; and after the pu- 
nishment, did their duty as usual. But the Dane 
thought in a diff'erent manner, and resolved to 
be revenged for the treatment he had received, 
and thereupon nailed up the cannon, deserted to 
the Turks, turned Mahometan, and defended 


Azoph, with great success, against his formei 
masters. This instance shews, that the lenity 
which is now practi-ed in Russia, is much pre- 
ferable to the former severities ; and is better 
calculated to retain those in their duty, who by 
a good education, have a proper sense of honour. 
It was absolutely necessary at that time, to use 
the utmost rigour towards the common people; 
but since their manners have been changed, the 
empress Elizabeth ^ has completed, by clemency, 
the work her father begun, by the authority of 
the laws. This lenity has even been carried, by 
this princess, to a degree unexampled, in the 
history of any nation. She has promised, that, 
during her reign, no person shall be punished 
with death, and she has kept her word. She is 
the first sovereign who ever shewed so much 
regard for the lives of men. By an institution, 
equally prudent and humane, malefactors are 
now condemned to serve in the mines, and other 
public works : by which means their very punish- 
ments prove of service to the state. In othei 
countries, they know only how to put a criminal 
to death, with all the apparatus of execution, 
without being able to prevent the perpetration 
of crimes. The apprehensioji of death makes, 
perhaps, less impression on those miscreants, 
who are, for the most part, bred up in idleness, 
than the fear of punishment and hard labour, 
renewed every day. 

• The present reigning empress Cathariue seems even 
to exceed her aunt in lenity, which together with the 
saperior qualifications of this princess, affords her people 
the most happy presage of a glorious xeiga ; and it is not 
without reason, that the most sensible amongst them flat- 
ter themselves with the hope, that under this augnst 
princess, the Russian empire will wrive at its highest 
ptniMcle of glory . 


To return to the siege of Azoph, which place 
Was now defended by the same person who had 
before directed the attacks against it ; the Rus- 
sians, in vain, attempted to take it by storm; 
and after losing a great number of men, were 
obliged to raise the siege. 

Perseverance in his undertakings, was the 
distinguishing character of Peter the Great. In 
the spring of 1696, he brought a still more con- 
siderable army before Azoph. About this time 
died czar John, bis brother, who though he had 
not, while living, been the least curb to Peter's 
authority, having enjoyed only the bare title of 
czar, yet he had been some restraint upon him 
in regard to appearances. The money which had 
been appropriated to the support of John's dig- 
nity and household, were now applied to the 
maintenance of the army. This proved no small 
help to a government, whose revenues were not 
near so great as they are at present. Peter wrote 
to the emperor Leopold, to the stales-general, 
and to the elector of Brandenburg, to obtain engi- 
neers, gunners, and seamen. He likewise took 
some Calmucks into his pay, whose light horse 
are very useful against the Grim Tartars. 

The most agreeable of the czar's successes, 
was that of his little fleet, which was at length 
completed, and well commanded. It defeated 
the Turkish saicks, sent from Constantinople, 
and took some of them. The siege was carried on 
regularly by trenches, but not altogether in our 
method ; the renches being three times deeper 
than ours, with parapets as high as rampart:;. At 
length the garrison surrendered, the 28th of July, 
1696. N.S. without being allowed the honours of 
war, or to carry out with them either arms or 
ammunition : they were likewise obliged to de- 
liver up the renegado, Jacob, to the conquerors. 


The czar immediately set about fortifying 
Azoph, built strong forts to protect it, and made 
a harbour capable of holding large vessels, with 
a design to make himself master of the Streights 
of Caffa, or the Cimmerian Bosphorus, which 
commands the entrance into the Pontus Euxinus, 
or Black Sea ; places famous in ancient times, 
by the naval armaments of Mithridates. He 
left thirty two armed saicks before Azoph,* and 
made all the necessary preparations for fitting 
out a fleet against the Turks, to consist of nine 
ships of sixty guns, and of forty-one, from thirty 
to fifty. He obliged his principal nobles, and 
the richer merchants, to contribute towards this 
armament ; and thinking that the estates of the 
clergy ought to help towards the common cause 
he obliged the patriarch, the bishops, and prin- 
cipal clergy, to pay down a sum of ready money to 
forward this expedition, in honour of their coun- 
try, arid the advantage of the Christian faith. 
The Cossacks were employed in building a num- 
ber of those light boats in use amongst them, 
and which were excellent for the purpose of 
cruizing on the coast of Crim Tartary. The Ot- 
toman empire was alarmed at this powerful ar- 
mament ; the first that had ever been attempted 
on the Palus Micotis. The czar's scheme was to 
drive the Turks and the Tartars for ever out of 
the Taurica Chersonesus, and afterwards to es- 
tablish a free and easy commerce with Persia 
through Georgia. This is the very trade which 
the Greeks formerly carried on to Colchos, and 
to this peninsula of Crim Tartary, which Peter 
now seemed on the point of conquering. 

Having subdued the Turks and the Tartars, 
he was willing to accustom his people to splendid 

• Le Fort's Memoirs. 


shows as well as to military labour. He made his 
army to enter into Moscow, under triumphal 
arches, in the midst of superb fire-works, and 
every thing that could add to the lustre of the 
festival. The soldiers who had fought on board 
the Venetian saicks against the Turks, and who 
were a distinct corps of themselves, marched first. 
Marshal Sheremeto, the general Gordons and 
Schein, admiral Le Fort, and the other general 
officers, all took the precedence of their monarch 
in this processiim, who declared he had no rank 
in the army, being desirous to convince the nobi- 
lity, by his example, that the only way to acquire 
military preferment, was to deserve it.* 

This triumphal entry seemed somewhat a-kin 
to those of the ancient Romans, in which the 
conquerors were wont to expose the prisoners 
they ii ad taken, to public view, and sometimes 
put them to death : in like manner, the slaves, 
taken in this expedition, follow the army ; and 
the deserter Jacob, who had betrayed them, was 
drawn in an open cart, in which was a gibbet, to 
which his body was fastened after he had been 
broke upon the wheel. 

On this occasion was struck the first medal 
in Russia, with this remarkable legend, in the 

* It is in consequence of this glorious and equitable 
distinction, that at this day we find nobility gives no 
precedence iu the court of Russia ; nor can the son of 
a prince appear there in an3' other rank, than that which 
his situation in tlic army gives him ; while a private 
citizen, who by his merit has raiswd himself above his 
condition, receives all tlic honours due to his post ; or 
more properly speaking, to the merit which obtained 
him that post. A reputation of this kind would, me- 
thinks, be attended with preat a(l\-antage8, both in Eng. 
land and France, as it would be a means to raise in the 
youth 01 all ranks, a virtuous and noble emulation. 


language of the country. ' Peter the First, 
august emperor of Muscovy.' Oh the reverse 
was the city of Azoph, with these words ; ' Vic- 
torious by Fire and Water.' 

Peter felt a sensible concern in the midst of 
all these successes, that his ships and gallies in 
the sea of Azoph, had been built entirely by the 
hands of foreigners; and wished as earnestly to 
have a harbour in the Baltic Sea, as upon the 
Pontus Euxinus. 

Accordingly, in the month of March 1677, he 
sent threescore young Russians of Le Fort's 
regiment, into Italy, most of them to Venice, and 
the rest to Leghorn, to instruct themselves in the 
naval art, and the manoer of constructing gul- 
lies. He likewise sent forty others into Holland,* 
to learn the metbcd <;f building and working 
large ships : and others likewise into Germany, 
to serve in the land forces, and instruct them- 
selves in the military discipline of that nation. 
At length he took a resolution to absent himself 
for a few years from his own dominions, in order 
to learn how to govern them tbe better. He had 
an irresistible inclination to improve himself by 
his own observation and practice in the know- 
ledge of naval affairs, and of the several arts 
which he was so desirous to establish in liis iwu 
country. He proposed to travel incognito through 
Denmark, Brandenburg, Holland, Vienna, Ve- 
nice, and Rome. France and Spain were the 
only countries he did not take into his plan ; 
Spain, because the arts he was in quest of, were 
too much neglected there ; and France, because 
in that kingdom they reigned with too much 
ostentation, and that the parade and state of 
Lewis XIV. which had disgusted so many 
rrowne.d heads, ill agreed with the private man- 
• General's Le Fort's MSS. 


ner in which he proposed lo travel. Moreover, he 
was in alliance with most of the powers, whose 
dominions he intended to visit, except those 
of France and Rome. He likewise remembered, 
with some degree of resentment, the little respect 
shewn by Lewis XIV. to his embassy in 1687, 
which had proved more famous than successful ; 
and lastly he already began to espouse the cause 
of Augustus, elector of Saxony, with whom the 
prince of Conti had lately entered into a compe- 
tition for the crown of Poland. 

Travels of Peter the Great. 

1697 H A^'^ING thus determined to visit the 
several countries and courts above- 
mentioned in a private character, he put himself 
into the retinue of three ambassadors, in the 
same manner as he had before mingled in the 
train of his generals at his triumphant entry 
into Moscow. 

• The three ambassadors were, general Le 
Fort, the boyard Alexis Gollgwin, commissary- 
general of lyar, and governor of Siberia, the same 
who signed the perpetual treaty of peace with the 
plenipotentiaries of China, on the frontiers ot 
that empire ; and VVonitzin, diak, or secretary 
of state, who had been long employed in foreign 
courts. Four principal secretaries, twelve gen- 
tlemen, two pages fur each ambassador, a com- 
pany of fifty guards, with their oflScers, all of the 
regiment of Preobrazinski, composed the chief 
retinue of this embassy, which consisted in the 

• The Petersburg Memoirs, and Memoirs of Le Fort. 


whole of two hundred persons ; and the czar, re- 
serving to himself only one valet de cbambre, a 
servant in livery, and a dwarf, mingled with the 
crowd. It was a thing unparalleled in history, 
for a king of five-and- twenty years of age, to quit 
his dominions, in order to learn the art of go- 
verning. His victory over the Turks and Tartars, 
the splendour of his triumphant entry into 
Moscow, the number of foreign troops attached 
to his service, the death of his brother John, his 
co-partner in the empire, and the confinement of 
the princess Sophia to a cloister, and above all 
the universal respect shewn to his person, seemed 
to assure him the tranquillity of his kingdom 
during his absence. He intrusted the regency 
in the hands of the boyard Strechnef, and the 
knez or prince Romadonowski, who were to de- 
liberate with the rest of the boyards in cases of 

Two troops raised by general Gordon remained 
behind in Moscow, to keep every thing quiet in 
that capital. Those strelitzes, who were thought 
likely to create a disturbance, were distributed 
in the frontiers of Crim Tartary, to preserve the 
conquest of Azoph, and to check the incursions 
of the Tartars. Having provided against every 
incident, he gav^afree scope to his passion and 
desire of improvement. 

As this journey proved the cause, or at least 
the pretext, of the bloody war, which so long; 
traversed, but in the end promoted, all the de- 
signs of the czar ; which drove Augustus, king 
of Poland, from the throne ; placed that crown 
on the head of Stanislaus, and then stript him of 
it ; which made Charles XII. king of Sweden, 
the first of conquerors for nine years, and the 
most unfortunate of kines for nine more ; it is 
Dficessary, in order to enter into a detail of these 


«Tent8, to take a \ iew of the state of Europe at 
that time. 

Sultan Mustapba II. sat at that time on the 
Ottoman throne ; the weakness of whose admi- 
nistration would not permit him to make any 
great eflforts, either against Leopold, emperor of 
Germany, whose arms were successful in Hun- 
gary, nor against the czar, who had lately taken 
Azoph from him, and threatened to make him- 
self master of the Pontus Euxinus ; nor even 
against the Venetians, who had made themselves 
masters of all the Peloponnesus. 

John Sobieski, king of Poland, for ever famous 
by the victory of Chocksim, and the deliverance 
of Vienna, died the 17th of June, 1696, and the 
possession of that crown was in dispute between 
Augustus, elector of Saxony, who obtained it, 
and Armond, prince of Conti, who had only the 
honour of being elected. 

1697.] Sweden had lately lost, but without re- 
gret, Charles XI. her sovereign, who was the 
first king who had ever been really absolute in 
that country, and who was the father of a prince 
still more so, and with whom all despotic power 
ceased. He leftthecrown to his son Charles XII. 
a youth of only fifteen years of age. This was 
in all appearance a conjuncture the most fa- 
vourable for the czar's design ; he had it in his 
power to extend his dominions on the Gulf of 
Finland, and on the side of Livonia. But he did 
not think it enough to harass the Turks on the 
Black Sea ; the settlements on the Palus Mjeotis, 
and the borders of the Caspian Sea, were not 
suflicient to answer his schemes of navigation, 
commerce, and power. Besides, glory, which -js 
the darling object of every reformer, was to be 
found neither in Persia, nor in Turkey, but in 
our parts of Europe, where great talents are 


rendered immortal. In a word, Peter did not 
aim at introducing either the Persian or Turkish 
manners among his subjects. 

Germany, then at war both with the Turks 
and with the French, and united with Spain, 
England, and Holland, against the single power 
of Lewis XIV. was on the point of concluding 
peace, and the plenipotentiaries were already 
met at the castle of Ryswick, in the neighbour- 
hood of the Hague. 

It was during this situation of affairs, that Peter 
and his ambassador began their journey in the 
month of April, 1697, by the way of Great Noto- 
gorod : from thence they travelled through Es- 
thonia and Livonia, provinces formerly disputed, 
by the Russians, Swedes, and Poles, and which 
the Swedes at last acquired by superiority of arms. 

The fertility of Livonia, and the situation of its 
capital, Riga, were temptations to the czar, to 
possess himself of that country. He expressed a 
curiosity to see the fortifications of the citadel. 
But count D'Alberg, governor of Riga, taking 
umbrage at this request, refused him the satisfac- 
tion he desired, and affected to treat the embassy 
with contempt. This behaviour did not at afl 
contribute to cool the inclination the czar might 
have, to make himself one day master of those 

From Livonia they proceeded to Brandenburg- 
Pnissia, part of which had been inhabited by the 
ancient Vandals ; Polish Prussia had been in- 
cluded in European Sarmatia. Brandenburg- 
Prussia was a poor country and badly peopled ; 
but its elector, who afterwards took the name of 
king, displayed a magnificence on this occasion, 
equally new and destructive to his dominions. 
He piqued himself upon receiving this embassy 
iu his city of Konigsberg, with all the pomp of 


royalty. Tte most sumptuous presents were made 
on both sides. The contrast between the French 
dress which the court of Berlin affected, and the 
Jong Asiatic robes of the Russians, with their 
caps buttoned up with pearls and diamonds, and 
their scimitars hanging at their belts, produced a 
singular effect. The czar was dressed after the 
German fashion. The prince of Georgia, who 
accompanied him, was clad in a Persian habit, 
which displayed a different magnificence. This 
is the same who was taken prisoner afterwards 
at the battle of Narva, and died in Sweden. 

Peter despised all thi?; ostentation ; it was to 
have been wished that he had shewn an equal 
contempt for the pleasures of the table, in which 
the Germans, at that time, placed their chiefest 
glory. It was at one of those entertainments,* 
then too much in fashion, and which are alike 
fatal to health and morality, that he drew his 
aword upon his favourite, Le Fort ; but he ex- 
pressed as much contrition for this s^udden sally 
of passion, as Alexander did for the murder of 
Clytus ; he asked pardon of Le Fort, saying, that 
he wanted to reform his subjects, and could not 
yet reform himself. General Le Fort, in his 
manuscript praises the czar more for this good- 
ness of heart, than he blames him for his excess 
of passion. 

The ambassadors then went through Pomerania 
and Berlin ; and, from thence, one part took its 
way through Magdeburg, and the other by Ham- 
burg, a city which already began to be consider- 
able by its extensive commerce, but not so rich 
and populous as it has become since. From thence 
they directed their route towards Minden, crossed 
Westphalia, and at length, by the way of CIev«8, 
arrived at Amsterdam. 

* Le Fort's MS, memoirs. 


The czar reached this city fifteen days before 
the ambassadors. At liis first coming, he .odged 
in a house belonging to the East India company ; 
but soon afterwards he took a small apartment 
in the dock-yard, belonging to the admiralty. He 
then put on the habit of a Dutch skipper, and in 
that dress went to the village of Saardam, a place 
where a great many more ships were built at that 
times, than at present. This village is as large, 
as populous, and as rich, and much neater, than 
many opulent towns. The czar greatly admired 
the multitude of people who were constantly em- 
ployed there, the order and regularity of their 
times of working, the prodigious dispatch with 
•which thev built and fitted out ships, the incre- 
dible number of warehouses, and machines, for 
the greater ease and security of labour. The czar 
began with purchasing a bark, to which he made 
a mast with his own hands ; after that, he worked 
upon all the diflferent parts in the construction of 
a vessel, living in the same manner as the work- 
men at Saardam, dressing and eating the same 
as them, and working in the forges, the rope- 
walks, and in the several mills, which are in 
prodigious numbers in that village, for sawing 
timber, extracting oil, making paper, and wire- 
drawing. He caused himself to be enrolled in 
the list of carpenters, hv the name of Peter 
Michaelhofi^, and was commonly called Peter 
Bas, or Master Peter : the workmen were at 
first confounded at having a crowned head for a 
fellow-labourer, but soon became familiarized to 
the sight. 

While he was thus handling the compass and 
the a,ie at Saardam, a confirmation was brought 
bim of the division in Poland, and of the double 
nomination of the elector Augustus, and the 
prince of Conti. The carpenter of Saardam 


immediately promised king Augustus to assist 
him with thirty thousand men ; and, from his 
work-loft, issued out orders to his army that was 
assembled in the Ukraine against the Turks. 

11th Aug. 1697.] His troops gained a victory 
over the I'artars near Azoph, and a few months 
afterwards took from them the city of Or, or Or- 
kapi, which we call Precop.* As to himself, he 
still continued improving in different arts : he 
went frequently from Saardam to Amsterdam, 
to hear the lectures of the celebrated anato- 
mist, Ruysch ; and made himself master of 
several operations in surgery, which, in case of 
necessity, might be of use both to himself and 
his officers. He went through a course of natu- 
ral philosophy, in the house of the burgomaster 
VVitzen, a person for ever estmiable for iiis pa- 
triotic virtue, and the noble use he madb of his 
immense riches, which he distributed like a citizen 
of the world, sending men of abilities, at a great 
expense, to all parts of the globe, in search of 
whatever was most rare and valuable, and fitting 
out vessels at his own charge to make new disco- 

Peter Bas gave a truce to his labours for a short 
time, but it was only to pay a private visit at 
Utrecht, and at the Hague, to William, king of 
England, and stadtholder of the United Pro- 
vinces. General Le Fort was the only one ad- 
mitted to the private conference of the two mo- 
narchs. Peter assisted afterwards at the public 
entry of his ambassadors, and at their audi- 

• Precop, or Perekop, once a fortress on tlie Isthmus, 
nrhich joins the peninsula of Crira 'J'ar:or3' to the main 
land of little Tartary, in European Turkey, and thence 
considered as the key to that country. It has its name 
from the ditches cat acroM for the defence of the penia* 



ence : they presented, in his name, to the deputy 
of the states, six hundred of the most beaatiful 
sables that could be procured ; and the states, 
over and above the customary presents on these 
occasions, of a gold chain and a medal, gave 
tliem three magnificent coaches. They received 
the first visits of all the plenipotentiaries who 
were at the congress of Ryswick, excepting 
those of France, to whom they had not notified 
their arrival, not only because the czar espoused 
the cause of Augustus against the prince of Conti, 
but also because king William, whose friend- 
ship he was desirous of cultivating, was averse 
to a peace with France. 

At his return to Amsterdam he resumed his 
former occupations, and completed with his own 
hands, a ship of sixty guns, that he had begun 
himself^and sent her to Archangel ; which was 
the only port he had at that time on the ocean. 

He not only engaged in bis service several 
French refugees, Swiss, and Germans ; but he 
also sent all sorts of artists over to Moscow, and 
he previously- made a trial of their several abi- 
lities himself. There were few trades or arts 
which <ie did not perfectly well understand, in 
their minutest branches : he took a particular 
pleasure in correcting with his own hands, the 
geographical maps, which at that time laid dovm 
at hazard the positions of the towns and rivers 
in his vast dominions, then very little known. 
There is still preserved, a map, on which he 
marked out, with his own hand, his projected 
commauication of t,he Caspian and Black Seas, 
the execution of which he had given in charge 
to iVlr. Brekel, a German engineer. The junction 
of these two seas was indeed a less difficult en- 
terprise than that of the Ocean and Mediterra- 
nean, which was eflfected in France; but the 


very idea of joining the sea of Azoph with the 
Caspian, astonished the imagination at that time: 
but new establishments in that country became 
the object of his attention, in proportion as hia 
successes begat new hopes. 

His troops, commanded by general Schein and 
prince Dolgorowski, had lately gained a victory 
over the Tartars near Azoph, and likewise over 
a body of janissaries sent by sultan Mustapha 
to their assistance. (July 1696.) This success 
served to make him more respected, even by those 
who blamed him, as a sovereign, for having quit- 
ted his dominions, to turn workman at Amster- 
dam. They now saw, that the affairs of the 
monarch did not suffer by the labours of the phi- 
losopher, the traveller, and the artificer. 

He remained at Amsterdam, constantly em- 
ployed in his usual occupations of shipbuilding, 
engineering, geography, and the practice of na- 
tural philosophy, till the middle of January 1698, 
and then he set out for England, but still as one 
of the retinue of his ambassadors. 

King William sent his own yacht to meet him, 
and two ships of >*ar as convoy. In England he 
observed the same manner of living as at Am- 
sterdam and Saardam ; he took an apartment near 
the king's dockyard, at Deptford, where he ap- 
plied himself wholly to gain instruction. The 
Dutch builders had only taught him their method, 
and the practical part of shipbuilding. In Eng- 
land he found the art better explained ; for there 
they work according to mathematical proportion. 
He soon made himself so perfect in this science, 
that he was able to give lessons to others. He 
began to build a ship according to the English 
method of construction, and it proved a prime 
sailor. The art of watchmaking, which was al 
ready brought to perfection in London, next at- 


tracted liis attention, and he made himself com- 
plete master of the whole theory. Captain Perry, 
the engineer, who followed him from London to 
Russia, says, that from the casting of cannon, to 
the spinning of ropes, there was not any one 
branch of trade belonging to a ship that he did 
not minutely observe, and even put his hand to, 
as often as he came into the places where those 
trades were carried on. 

In order to cultivate his friendship, he was al- 
lowed to engage several English artificers into 
his service, as he had done in Holland ; but, over 
and above artificers, he engaged likewise some 
mathematicians, which he would not so easily 
have found in Amsterdam. Ferguson, a Scotch- 
man, an excellent geometrician, entered into his 
service, and was the first person who brought 
arithmetic into use in the exchequer in Russia, 
where before that time, they made use only of the 
Tartarian method of reckoning, with balls strung 
upon a wire ; a method which supplied the place 
of writing, but was very perplexing and imper- 
fect, because, after the calculation, there was no 
method of proving it, in order to discover any 
error. The Indian ciphers, which are now in 
use, were not introduced among us till the ninth 
century, by Arabs ; and they dul not make their 
way into the Russian empire till one thousand 
years afterwards. Such has been the fate of the 
arts, to make their progress slowly round the 
globe. He took with him two young students 
from a mathematical school,* and this was the 
beginning of the marine academy, founded after- 
wards by Peter the Great. He observed and 
calculated eclipses with Ferguson. Perry, the 

• These were two Bcholars frcm Christ Church 
Hospital, commonly called blae coat boys. 


engineer, though greatly discontented at not being 
sufficiently rewarded, acknowledges, that Peter 
made himself a proficient in astronomy ; that he 
perfectly well understood the motions of the 
heavenly bodies, as well as the laws of gravitation, 
by which they are directed. This force, now so 
evidently demonstrated, and before the time of 
the great Newton so little known, by which all 
the planets gravitate towards each other, and 
which retain them in their orbits, was already 
become familiar to a sovereign of Russia, while 
other countries amused themselves with imagi- 
nary vertices, and, in Galileo's nation, one set of 
ignorant persons ordered others, as ignorant, to 
believe the earth to be immoveable. 

Perry set out in order to effect a communica- 
tion between rivers, to build bridges, and con- 
struct sluices. The czar's plan was to open a 
communication by means of canals between the 
Ocean, the Caspian, and the Black Seas. 

We must not forget to observe, that a set of 
English merchants, with the marquis of Caermar- 
then * at their head, gave Peter fifteen thousand 
pounds sterling, for the permission of vending to- 
bacco in Russia. The patriarch, by a mistaken 
severity, had intenlicted this branch of trade ; 
for the Russian church forbid smoking, as an un- 
clean and sinful action. Peter, who knew better 
things, and who, amongst his many projected 
changes, meditated a reformation of the church, 
introduced this commodity of trade into his dc- 

Before Peter left England, he was entertained 
by king Willian with a spectacle worthy such a 

• Tlie czar was particularij' fond of this nobleman, 
because lie was a great lover of maritime affairs, fre- 
quently rowed and sailed wiili Lim upon the water, and 
gave him what information he could concerning shipping. 


gaest : this was a mock sea-fight. Little was it 
then imagined, that the czar would one day fight 
a real battle on this element against the Swedes, 
and gain naval victories in the Baltic. In fine, 
William made him a present of the vessel in 
which he used to go over to Holland, called the 
Royal Transport, a beautiful yacht, and magnifi- 
cently adorned. In this vessel Peter returned to 
Holland the latter end of 1698, taking with him 
three captains of ships of war, five and twenty 
captains of merchant ships, forty lieutenants, 
thirty pilots, as many surgeons, two hundred and 
fifty gunners, and upwards of three hundred ar- 
tificers. This little colony of persons skilful in 
all branches, sailed from Holland to Archangel, 
on board the Royal Transport, and from thence 
were distributed into all the diflferent places 
where their services were necessary. Those who 
had been engaged at Amsterdam wen^. by the 
way of Narva, which then belonged to the Swedes. 

While he was thus transplanting the arts and 
manufacture of England and Holland into his 
own country, the officers, whom he had sent to 
Rome, and other places in Italy, had likewise 
engaged some artists in his service. General 
Sheremeto, who was at the head of his embassy 
to Italy, took the tour of Rome, Naples, Venice, 
aiid Malta, while the czar proceeded to \ienna 
with his other ambassadors. He had now only 
to view the military discipline of the Germans, 
after having seen the English fleets, and the dock- 
yards of Holland. Politics had likewise as great 
a share in this journey as the desire of instruc- 
tion. The emperor was his natural ally against 
the Turks. Peter had a private audience of 
Leopold, and the two monarchs conferred stand- 
ing, to avoid the trouble of ceremony. 

There happened nothing worthy remark during 


his stay at Vienna, except the celebration of the 
ancient feast of the landloid and landlady, which 
had been disused for a considerable time, and 
which Leopold thought proper to revive on the 
czar's 'account. This feast, which l)y the Ger- 
mans is called Wurtchafft, is celebrated in the 
following manner : — 

The emperor is landlord and the empress land- 
lady, the king of the Romans, the archdukes and 
the archduchesses are generally their assistants : 
they entertain people of all nations as their 
guests, who come dressed after the most ancient 
fashion of their respective countries : those who 
are invited to the feast, draw lots for tickets, on 
each of which is written the name of the nation, 
and the character or person they are to repre- 
sent. One perhaps draws a ticket for a Chinese 
mandarin ; another for a Tartarian nnrza ; a third 
a Persian satrap ; and a fourth for a Roman se- 
nator ; a princess may, by her ticket, be a gar- 
dener's wife, or a milk-maid ; a prince a peasant, 
or a common soldier. Dances are composed 
suitable to all those characters, and the landlord 
and landlady with their family wait at table. 
Such was the ancient institution ; but on this 
occasion * Joseph, king of the Romans, and the 
countess of Traun, represented the ancient 
Egyptians. The archduke Charles, and the coun 
tess of Walstein, were dressed like Flemings in 
the time of Charles the Fifth. The archduchess 
Mary Elizabeth and count Traun were in the 
habits of Tartars ; the archduchess Josephina 
and the count of Workslaw were habited like 
Persians, and the archduchess Mariamne and 
prince Maximilian of Hanover in the character 
of North Holland peasants. Peter appeared in 

* Le Fort's MSS. and tlioae of Petersburg. 


the dress of a Friesland boor, and all R'bo spoke 
to him addressed him in that character, at the 
same time talkiiig to him of the great czar of 
Muscovy. These are trifling particulars ; but 
whatever revives the remembrance of ancient 
manners and customs, is in some degree worthy 
of being recorded. 

Peter was ready to set out from Vienna, in 
order to proceed to Venice, to complete his tour 
of instruction, when he received the news of a 
rebellion, which had lately broke out in his do- 


A conspiracy punished. — The corps of streliues abolished, 
alterations in customs, manners, church, and state. 

r^ZAR Peter, when he left his dominions to set 
out on his travels, had provided against 
every incident, even that of rebellion. But the 
great and serviceable things he had done for his 
countrv, proved the very cause of this rebellion. 
Certain old boyards, to whom the ancient cus- 
toms were still dear, and some priests, to 
whom the new ones appeared little better than 
sacrilege, began these disturbances, and the old 
faction of the princess Sophia took this opportu- 
nity to rouse itself anew. It is said, that one of 
her sisters, who was confined to the same monas- 
tery, contributed not a little to excite these sedi- 
tions. Care was taken to spread abroad the 
danger to be feared from the introduction of 
foreigners to instruct the nation. In short, who 
would believe, that* the permission which the 
czar had given to import tobacco into his empire, 
contrary to the inclination of the clergy, was one 

• r^ Fort's MSS. 


of the chief motives of the insurrection 1 Super- 
stition, the scourge of every country, yet the dar- 
ling of the multitude, spread itself from the com- 
mon people to the strelitzes, who had been scat- 
tered on the frontiers of Lithuania : they assem- 
bled in a body, and marched towards Moscow, 
with the intent to place the princess Sophia on 
the throne, and for ever to prevent the return of 
a czar who had violated the established customs,* 
by presuming to travel for instruction among 
foreigners. The forces commanded by Schein 
and Gordon, who were much better disciplined 
than the strelitzes, met them fifteen leagues from 
Moscow, gave them battle, and entirely defeated 
them : but this advantage, gained by a foreign 
general over the ancient militia, among whom 
were several of the burghers of Moscow, contri- 
buted still more to irritate the people. 

To quell these tumults, the czar sets out pri- 
vately from Vienna, passes through Poland, has 
a private interview with Augustus, concerts mea- 
sures with that prince for extending the Russian 

• A most extraordinary instance of iLe obstinate at- 
tachment of the Russians to their old customs, happeoad 
in the time of the czar Bassilowitz, and undoubtedly in 
fluenced liim not a iittle in the severity with which he 
treated his people. The king of Poland, Stephen Battori, 
havinj^ recovered Livonia, went himself into that province 
to establish a i ew form of government. According to the 
constant custom there, when any peasant, all of whom were 
treated as slaves, had committed a fault, he was whipped 
with a rod till the blood came. The king was willing to 
commute this barbarous punishment for one that wa« 
more moderate ; but the peasants, insensible of the favour 
designed them, threw themselves at his feet, and intreated 
him not to make any alterations in their ancient customs, 
because they Lad experienced, that all innovations, far 
from procuring them the least redress, had always ma<i* 
their burthens sit the heavier on them. 

E i 

106 HlST0R5f OF 

dominions on the side of the Baltic, and at length 
arrived at Moscow, where he surprised every one 
•with his presence : he then confers rewards on 
the troops who had defeated the strelitzes, (Sept. 
1698,) of whom the prisons were now full. If 
the crimes of these unhappy wretches were great, 
their punishment was no less so. Their leaders, 
with several of their officers and priests, were 
condemned to death ; some were broken upon the 
wheel,* and two women were buried alive ; up- 
wards of two thousand of the strelitzes were exe- 
cuted, part of whom were hung round about the 
walls of the city, and others put to death in dif- 
ferent manners, and their dead bodies remained 
exposed for two days in the high roads.t parti- 
cularly about the monastery where the princesses 
Sophia and Eudocia resided. $ Monuments cf 
stone were erected, on which their crimes and 
punishments were set forth. A great number of 
them who had wives and children at Moscow, 
were dispersed with their families into Siberia, 
the kingdom of Astracan, and the country oi 
Azoph. This punishment was at least of service 

• Memoirs of captain Perry, the engineer, employed 
by Peter the Great, in Russia, and MSS. of Le Fort. 

t Captain Perry, in p. 184 of his memoirs. 833-8, that 
these executions being performed in the depth of winter, 
I heir bodies were immediately frozen ; those who were 
beheaded, were ordered to be left in the same posture as 
when executed, in ranks tjpon the ground, with their heads 
lying by them : and those who were hanged round the 
three walls of the city, were left hanging the whole win- 
ter, to the view of the peoplt, till the warm weather began 
to come oii in the spring, when they were taken down and 
buried together in a pit, to prevent infection. This author 
adds, that there were other gibbets placed on all the pub- 
lic roads leading to Moscow, where others of these rcbeb 
wer« hanged. 

: MSS. of Le Fort 


to the state, as they helped to cultivate and peo- 
ple a large tract of waste land. 

Perhaps, if the czar had not found it absolutely 
necessary to make such terrible examples, he 
might have employed part of those strelitzes 
whom he put to death, upon the public works ^, 
whereas they were now lost both to him and the 
state : the lives of men ought to be held in great 
estimation, especially in a country wWpre the in- 
crease of inhabitants ought to have been the prin- 
cipal care of the legislature : but he thought it 
necessary to terrify and break the spirit of the 
nation by executions, and the parade attending 
them. The entire corps of the strelitzes, whose 
number not one of his predecessors had even 
dared to think of diminishing, was broke for ever, 
and their very name abolished. This change was 
effected without any resistance, because matters 
had been properly prepared beforehand. The 
Turkish sultan, Osman, as I have already re- 
marked, was deposed and murdered in the same 
century, only for giving the jani;5saries room to 
suspect that he intended to lessen their number. 
Peter had better success, because he had taken 
better measures. 

Of this powerful and numerous body of the 
strelitzes, he left only two feeble regiments, from 
whom there could no longer be anv danger ; and 
yet these still retaining their old spirit of mu- 
tiny, revolted again in Astracan, in the year 
1705, but were quickly suppressed. 

But while we are relating Peter's severity in 
this affair of state, let us not forget to commemo- 
rate the more than equal humanity he shewed 
some time afterwards, when lie lost his favourite 
LeFort, who was snatched away by an untimely 
fate, March 12, N. S. 1699, at the age of 46. 
He paid him the same funeral honours as are be- 


Btowed on the greatest sovereigns, and assisted 
himself in the procession, carrying a pike in his 
hand, and marching after the captains, in the 
rank of a lieutenant, which he held in the de- 
ceased general's regiment, hereby setting an ex- 
ample to his nobles, of the respect due to merit 
and the military rank. 

After the death of Le Fort, it appeared plainly, 
that the changes in the state were not o^^^ng to 
that general, but to the czar himself. Peter had 
indeed been confirmed in his design by his se- 
veral conversations with Le Fort ; but he had 
formed and executed them all without his as- 

As soon as he had suppressed the strelitzes, 
he established regular regiments on the German 
model, who were all clothed in a short and com- 
modious uniform, in the room of those long and 
troublesome coats, which they used to wear be- 
fore ; and, at the same time, their exercise was 
likewise more regular. 

The regiment of Preobrazinski guards was 
already formed ; it had taken its name from the 
first company of fifty men, whom the czar had 
trained up in his younger days, in his retreat at 
Preobrazinski, at the time when his sister Sophia 
governed the state, and the other regiment of 
guards was also established. 

As he had himself passed through the lowest 
degrees in the army, he was resolved that the 
sons of his bovards and great men, should serve 
as common soldiers before they were made offi- 
cers. He sent some of the young nobility on 
board of his fleet at Woronitz and Azoph, where 
he obliged them to serve their apprenticeship as 
common seamen. No one dared to dispute the 
commands of a master who had himself set the 
example. The English and Dutch he had brought 


over with him were employed in equipping this 
fleet for sea, in constructing sluices, and building 
docks, for careening the ships, and to resume the 
great work of joining the Tanais, or Don, and the 
Wolga, which had been dropped by Brekcl, the 
German. And now he began to set about his 
projected reformations in the council of state, 
in the revenue, in the church, and even in so- 
ciety itself 

The affairs of the revenue had been hitherto 
administered much in the same manner as in 
Turkey. Rlach boyard paid a stipulated sum for 
his lands, which he raised upon the peasants, his 
vassals ; the czar appointed certain burghers and 
burgomasters to be his receivers, who were not 
powerful enough to claim the right of paying only 
Buch sums as they thought proper into the pub- 
lic treasury. This new administration of the 
finances, was what cost him the most trouble : he 
was obliged to try several methods before he 
could fix upon a proper one. 

The reformation of the church, which in all 
other countries is looked upon as so dangerous 
and diflScult an attempt, was not so to him. The 
patriarchs had at times opposed the authority of 
the crown, as well as the streluzes ; Nicon with 
insolence, Joachin, one of his successors, in an 
artful manner. 

The bishops had arrogated the power of life 
and death, a prerogative directly contrary to the 
spirit of religion, and the subordination of go- 
vernment, riiis assumed power, which^had been 
of long standing, was now taken from them. The 
patriarch Adrian, dying at the close of this cen- 
tury, Peter declared that there should for the 
future be no other. 

I'his dignity then was entirely suppressed, and 
the great income belonging thereto was united to 


tlit» public revenue, which stood in need of this 
adiiiuon. Although the czar did not set himself 
up ;is the head of the Russian ."hurch, as the 
kings of Great Britain have dene in regard to 
the church of England; yet he was, in fact, ab- 
solute master over it, because the synods did not 
dare either to disobey the commands of a despo- 
tic sovereign, or to dispute with a prince who 
had more know'edge than themselves. 

We need only to cast an eye on the preamble 
to the edict, concerning his ecclesiastical reguhi- 
tions, issued in iT'il, to be convinced that iie 
acted at once as master and legislator: ' We 
should deem ourselves guilty of ingratitude to 
the Most High, if, after having reformed the nu- 
litary and civil orders, we neglect the spiritual. 
iScc. For this cause, following the example of 
the most ancient kings, who have been fain«".i 
for piety, we ha-ve taken upon us to make certai;, 
wholesome regulations, touching the clergy.' \i 
is true, he convened a synod for carrying iiiic 
execution his ecclesiastical decrees, but tUe 
members of this synod, at entering upon their 
office, were to take aa oath, the form of whici; 
bad been drawn up and signed by himself. I'hif; 
was an oath of submission and obedience, ami 
was conceived in the following terms: ' I s veiir 
to be a faithful and obedient servant and subjec : 
to my true and natural sovereign, and to the au- 
gust successors whom it shall please him to no- 
minate, in virtue of the incontestable right of 
which he is possessed : I acknowledge him to be 
the supreme judge of this spiritual college : 1 
swear by the all-seeing God, that I understand 
and mean this oath in the full force and sense, 
which the words convey to those who read or 
hear it.' This oath is much stronger Uian that 
of the supxejuacy in England. The Russian 


monarch was not, indeed, one of the fathers 6f 
the synod, but he dictated their laws ; and, 
though he did not touch the holy censer, he di- 
rected the hands that held it. 

Previous to this great woik, he thought, that 
in a state like his, which stood in need of being 
peopled, the celibacy of the monks was contrary 
to nature, and to the public good. It was the 
ancient custom of the Russian church, for secular 
priests to marry at least once in their lives : they 
were even obliged so to do : and formerly they 
ceased to be priests as soon as they lost their 
wives. But that a multitude of young people 
of both sexes should make a vow of living useless 
in a cloister, and at the expense of others, ap- 
peared to him a dangerous institution. He, 
therefore, ordered that no one should be admitted 
to a monastic life, till they were fifty years old, 
a time of life very rarely subject to a temptation 
of this kind ; and he forbid any person to be ad- 
mitted, at any age soever, who was actually in 
possession of any public employ. 

This regulation has been repealed since his 
death , because the government has thought proper 
to shew more complaisance to the monasteries : 
but the patriarchal dignity has never been re- 
vived, and its great revenues are now appropri- 
ated to the payment of the troops. 

These alterations at first excited some mur- 
murings. A certain priest wrote, to prove that 
Peter was antichrist, because he would not ad- 
rait of a patriarch; and the art of printing, 
which the czar encouraged in his kingdom, was 
made use of to publish libels against him: but, 
on the other hand, there was another priest who 
started up to prove that Peter could not be anti- 
christ, because the number 666 was not to be 
found in his name, and that be had not the sign 


of the Beast. All complaints, however, were 
soon quieted. Peter, in fact, gave much more xo 
the church than he took from it ; for he made the 
clergy, bv degrees, more regular and more learn- 
ed. He founded three colleges at Moscow, where 
they teach the languages, and where those who 
are designed for the priesthood are obliged to 

One of the most necessary reforms was the 
suppression, or at least the mitigation of the 
Three Lents, an ancient superstition of the Greek 
church, and as prejudicial with respect to those 
who are employed in public works, and especi- 
ally to soldiers, as was the old Jewish supersti- 
tion of not fighting on the sabbath- day. Accord- 
ingly the czar dispensed with his workmen and 
soldiers at least, observing these lents, in which, 
though they were not permitted to eat, they were 
accustomed to get drunk. He likewise dispensed 
with their observance of meagre days ; the 
chaplains of the fleet and army were obliged to 
set the example, which they did without much 

The calendar, another important object. For- 
merly, in all the countries of the world, the chiefs 
of religion had the care of regulating the year, 
not only on account of the feasts to be observed, 
but because, in ancient times, the priests were 
the only persons who understood astronomy. 

The year began with the Russians on the 1st 
of September. Peter ordered, that it should for 
the future commence the first day of January, 
as among the other nations of Europe. This al- 
teration was to take place in the year 1700, at 
the beginning of the century, which lie celebrated 
by a jubilee, and other grand solemnities. It was 
a matter of surprise, to the common people, how 
the czar should be able to change the course of 


the Bun. Some obstiuate persons, persuaded that 
God had created the world in September, conti- 
nued their old style : but the alteration took 
place in all the public offices, in the whole court 
of chancery, and in a little time throughout the 
whole empire. Peter did not adopt the Grego- 
rian calendar, because it had been rejected by 
the English mathematicians ; but which must, 
nevertheless, be one day received in all countries. 

Ever since the 5th century, the time when let- 
ters first came into use ::mong8t them, they had 
been accustomed to write upon long rolls, made 
either of the bark of trees, or of parchment, and 
afterwards of paper ; and the czar was obliged 
to publish an edict, ordering every one, for the 
future, to write after our manner. 

The reformation now became general. Their 
marriages were made formerly after the same 
manner as in 'I'urkcy and Persia, where the 
bridegroom does not see his bride till the contract 
is signed, and they cad no longer go from their 
words. This custom may do well enough among 
those people, where polygamy prevails, and 
where the women are always shut up ; but it is 
a very bad one in countries where a man is con- 
fined to one wife, and where divorces are seldom 

'I'he czar was willing to accustom his people 
to the manners and customs of the nations which 
he had visited in his travels, and from whence 
he had taken the masters who were now instnct- 
ing them. 

It appeared necessary that the Russians should 
not be dressed in a different manner from those 
who were teaching them the arts »u(\ B-i-iences , 
because the aversion to strangers, wtiich is but 
too natural to mankind, is not a little kept up by 
a difference of dress. The full dress, which at 


that time partook of the fashjons of the Poles, the 
Tartars, and the ancient Hungarians, was, as we 
have elsewhere observed, very noble ; but the 
dress of the burghers and common people resem- 
bled those jackets plaited round the waist, which 
are still given to the poor children in some of the 
French hospitals.* In general, the robe was 
formerly the dress of all nations, as being a gar- 
ment that required the least trouble and art ; 
and, for the same reason, the beard was suffered 
to grow. The czar met with but little difficulty 
in introducing our mode of dress, and the custom 
of shaving among his courtiers; but the people 
were more obstinate, he found himself obliged to 
Jay a tax on long coats and beards. Patterns of 
close-bodied coats were hung up in public places ; 
and whoever refused to pay the tax were obliged 
to suffer their robes and their beards to be cur- 
tailed : all this was done in a jocular manner, 
and this air of pleasantry prevented seditions. 

It has ever been the aim of all legislators to 
render mankind more sociable ; but it is not suf- 
ficient to effect this end, that they live together 
in towns, there must be a mutual intercourse of 
civility. This intercourse sweetens all the bit- 
terness of life. J'he czar, therefore, introduced 
those assemblies which the Italians call ridotti. 
To these assemblies he invited all the ladies of 
his court, with their daughters ; and they were 
to appear dressed after the fashions of the 
gouthern nations of Europe. He was even him- 
self at the pains of drawing up ruW.'S for all the 
little decorums to be observed at these social 
entertainments. Thus, even to good breedmg 
among his subjects, all was his own work, and 
that of time. 

• SoTnewhat like those of oi:r blue coat boys 
in England. 


To make his people relish these innovations 
the b<;tter, he abolished the word golut, slave, 
always made use of by the Russians when they 
addressed r.heir czar, or presented any petition to 
him ; and ordered, that, for the future, thev 
should make use of the word raab, which sig- 
nifies su/>/>c^ This alteration in no wise dimi- 
nished the obedience due to the sovereign, and 
yet was the most ready means of conciliating 
their affections. Every month produced some 
new change or institution. He carried his at- 
tention even to the ordering painted posts to be 
set up in the road between Moscow and Woro- 
nitz, to serve as mile stones at the distance of 
every verst ; that is to say, every seven hundred 
paces, and had a kind of caravanseras, or public 
inns, built at the end of every twentieth verst. 

While he was thus extending his cares to the 
common people, to the merchants, and to the 
traveller, he thought proper to make an addition 
to the pomp and splendour of his own court ; for 
though he hated pomp or show in his own per- 
son, he thought it necessary in those about him ; 
he therefore instituted the order of St. Andrew,* 
in imitation of the several orders with which 
all the courts of Europe abound. Golowin, who 
succeeded Le Fort in the dignity of high admiral, 
was the first knight of this order. It was es- 
teemed a high reward to have the honour of 
being admitted a member. It was a kind of 
badge that entitled the person who bore it to the 
respect of the people. This mark of honour costs 
nothing to the sovereign, and flatters the self- 
love of a subject, without rendering him too 

'I'hese many useful innovations were received 

• COth Sept. 1698. It is to be observed, that I always 
Collonr the aew style in my dales. 


with applause by the wiser part of the nation ; 
and the murmurings and complaints of those who 
adhered to the ancient customs were drowned in 
the acclamations of men of sound judgment. 

While Peter was thus beginning a new crea- 
tion in the interior part of his state, he concluded 
an advantageous truce with the Turks, which 
gave him the liberty to extend his territories on 
another side. Mustapha the Second, who had 
been defeated by prince Eugene, at the battle of 
Zeuta, in 1697, stripped of the Morea by the 
Venetians, and unable to defend Azoph, was 
obliged to make peace with his victorious ene- 
mies, which peace was concluded at Carlowiz, 
(Jan. 26, 1699.) between Peterwaradin and 
Salankamon, places made famous by bis defeats. 
Temeswaer was made the boundary of the Ger- 
man possessions, and of the Ottoman dominions. 
Kaminieck was restored to the Poles ; the Morea, 
and some towns in Dalmatia, which had been 
taken by the Venetians, remained in their hands 
for some time ; and Peter the First continued ir. 
possession of Casaph, and of a few forts built in 
its neighbourhood. 

It was not possible for the czar to extend his 
dominions on the side of Turkey, without draw- 
ing upon him the forces of that empire, before 
divided, but now united. His naval projects were 
too vast for the Palus Maeotis, and the settle- 
ments on the Caspian Sea would not admit of a 
fleet of men of war : he therefore turned his 
views towards the Baltic Sea, but without relin- 
quishing those in regard to the Tanais and 



War with Sweden. — The battle of Narva. 

1700. A GRAND scene was now opened on 
the frontiers of Sweden. One of the 
principal causes of all the revolutions which 
happened from Ingria, as far as Dresden, and 
which laid waste so many countries for the 
space of eighteen years, was the abuse of the 
supreme power, bv (3harles XI. king of Sweden, 
father of Charles XII. This is a fact which 
cannot be too often repeated, as it concerns every 
crowned head, and the subjects of every nation. 
Almost all Livonia, with the whole of Esthonia, 
had been ceded by the Poles to Charles XI. king 
of Sweden, who succeeded Charles X. exactly at 
the lime of the treaty of Oliva. It was ceded 
in the customary manner, with a reservation of 
rights and privileges. Charles XL shewing 
Jittle regard to these privileges, John Reinhold 
Patkul, a gentleman of Livonia, came to Stock- 
holm in 1692, at the head of six deputies from 
the province, and laid their complaints at the 
fool of the throne, in respectful, but strong 
terms.* Instead of an answer, the deputies 
were ordered to be imprisoned, and Patkul was 
condemned to lose his honour and his life. But 
he lost neiiher, for he made his escape to the 
country of Vaud, in Switzerland, where he re- 
mained some lime; when he afterwards was 

• Norberg, chaplain and confessor to Charles Xll. 
says, in his history, ' That he had liie insolence lo 
complain of oppressions, and tiiat he was condemned to 
lose l>'.s honour and life.' This is spe<ikini^ like the 
jiigh-priest of depotism. He should have observed, that 
no one can deprive a citizen of his honour for duing his 


informed, that Augustus, elector c ' Saxony, had 
promisfd, at his accession to the throne of 
Poland, to recover the provinces tiat had been 
wrested from that kingdom j he hastened to 
Dresden, to represent to that prince, how easily 
he might himself master of Livonia, and 
revenge upon a king, only seventeen years of 
age, the losses that Poland had sustained by his 

At this very time czar Peter entertained 
thoughts of seizing upon Ingria and Carelia. 
These provincea had formerly belonged to the 
Russians, but the Swedes had made themselves 
masters of them by force of arms, in the time of 
the false Demetriuses, and had retained the 
possession of them by treaties : another war and 
new treaties might restore them again to Russia. 
Patkul went from Dresden to Moscow, and, by 
exciting up the two monarchs to avenge his pri- 
vate causes, he cemented a close union between 
them, and directed their preparations for in- 
vading all the places situated to the east and 
south of Finland. 

Just at this period, the new king of Denmark, 
Frederick IV. entered into- an alliance with' the 
czar and the king of Polan 1, against Charles, the 
voung king of Sweden, who seemed in no con- 
dition to withstand their united forces. Patkul 
had the satisfaction of besieging the Swedes in 
Riga, the capital of Livonia, and directing the 
attack in quality of major-general. 

The czar marched near eighty thousand men 
into Ingria. It is true, that, in thi-s numerous 
army, he had not more than twelve thousand good 
soldiers, being those he had disciplined himself; 
namely, the two regim.ents of guards, and some 
few others, the rest being a badly armed militia, 
with bome Cossacks, and Circassian Tartars ; 


but be carried with him a train of a hundred 
and forty-five pieces of cannon. He laid siege 
to Narva, a small town in Ingria, that had a 
very commodious harbour, and it was generally 
thought the place would prove an easy conquest. 
S<pt.] It is known to all Europe, how Charlee 
XII. when not quite eighteen years of age, made 
head against all his enemiee and attacked them 
one after another ; he entered Denmark, put an 
end to the war in that kingdom in less than six 
weeks, sent succours to Riga, obliged the enemy 
to raise the siege, and marched against the Rus- 
sians encamped before Narva, through the mid^t 
of ice and snow, in the month of November. 

The czar, who looked upon Narva as already 
in his possession, was gone toNovogorod, (Nov. 
18,) and had taken with him his favourite, 
MenzikolF, then a lieutenant in the company of 
bombardiers, cf the Preobrazinski regiment, and 
afterwards raised to the rank of field-marshal 
and prince ; a man whose singular fortunes en- 
title him to be spoken of more at large in another 

Peter left the command of the army, with his 
instructions for the siege, with the prince of 
Croi ; whose family came from Flanders, and 
who had lately entered into the czar's service.* 
Prince Dolgorouki acted as commissary of the 
army. The jealousy between these two chiefs, 
and the absence of the czar, were partly the 
occasion of the unparalleled defeat at Narva. 

Charles XII. having landed at Pemau, in 
Livonia, with his troops, in the month of Octo- 
ber advanced northward to Revel, where be 
defeated an advanced body of Russians. He 
continued his march, and meeting with another 
body, routed that likewise. The runaways re- 
• See the History of Charles XII. 


turned to the camp before Narra, w\jich they 
filled with consternation. The month of Novem- 
ber was now far advanced ; Narva, though un- 
skilfully besieged, was on thp point of surrender- 
ing. The young king of Sweden had not at that 
time above nine thousand men with him, and 
could bring only six pieces of cannon to oppose 
to a hundred and forty-five, with which the 
Russian intrenchments were defended. All the 
relations of that time, and all historians without 
exception, concur in making the Russian army 
then before Narva amount to eighty thousand 
men. 'i'he memoirs with which I have been fur- 
nished say sixty thousand ; be that as it may, it 
is certain, that Charles had not quite nine thou- 
sand ; and that this battle was one of those 
which have proved, that the greatest victories 
have been frequently gained by inferior num- 
bers, ever since the famed one of Arbela.* 

Nov. .50.] Charles did not hesitate one mo- 
ment to attack with his small troop this army, 
so greatly superior ; and, taking advantage of a 
violent wind, and a great storm of snow, which 
blew directly in the faces of the Russians, he 
attacked their intrenchments under cover of 
some pieces of cannon, which he had posted 
advantageously for the purpose. The Russians 
had not time to form themselves in the midst of 
that cloud of snow, that beat full in their faces, 
and astonished by the discharge of cannon, that 
they could not see, and never imagined how 
small a number they had to oppose. 

The duke de Croi attempted to give his orders, 
but prince Dolgorouki would not receive them. 

• A town on the river Lycus, in the province of A»- 
•yria, now called Curdestan, where Alexander the Great 
fought his third and decisive battle, with Darius, king of 


The Russian officers rose upon the German offi- 
cers ; the duke's secretary, with Colonel Lyon, 
and several others, were murdered. Every one 
abandoned his post ; and tumult, confusion, and 
apanic of terror, spread through the whole army. 
The Swedish troops had nothing more to do, but 
to cut in pieces those who were flying. Some 
threw themselves into the river Narva, where 
great numbers were drowned ; others threw 
down their arms, and fell upon their knees be- 
fore the conquering Swedes. 

The duke de Croi, general Alland, and the 
rest of the general officers, dreading the Russians 
more than the Swedes, went in a bod\' and surren- 
dered themselves prisoners to count Steinbock. 
The king of Sweden now made himself master 
of all the artillery. 'I'hirty thousand of the van- 
quished enemy laid down their arms at his feet, 
and filed off bare-headed and disarmed before 
him. Prince Dolgorouki, and all the Russian 
generals, came and surrendered themselves, as 
well as the Germans, but did not know till after 
they had surrendered, that they had been con- 
quered by eight thousand men. Amongst the 
prisoners, was the son of a king of Georgia, 
whom Charles sent to Stockholm : his name was 
MitteleskyCzarovits, or czar's son, an additional 
proof that the title of czar, or tzar, had not 
its original from the Roman Csesars. 

Charles XII. did not lose more than one thou- 
sand two hundred men in this battle. The czar's 
journal, v/hich has been sent me from Peters- 
burg, says, that including those who died at the 
siege of Narva, and in the battle, and those who 
were drowned in their flight, the Russians lost 
no more than six thousand men. Want of ^is- 
ciphne, and a panic that seized the army, did all 
the work of that fatal day. The number of thiu* 


made prisoners of war, was four times greater than 
that of the conquerors ; and if we may believe 
Norberg,* count Piper, who was afterwards taken 
prisoner by tlie Russians, reproached them, that 
the number of their people made prisoners io the 
battle, exctc-ded by eight times the number of the 
whole Swedish array. If this is truth, the Swedes 
must have made upwards of seventv-two thou- 
sand prisoners. This shews how seldom writers 
are well informed of particular circumstances. 
One thing, however, equally incontestable and 
extraordinary, is, that the king of Sweden per- 
mitted one half of the Russian soldiers to retire 
back, after having disarmed them, and the other 
half to repass the river, with their arms ; by this 
unaccountable presumption, restoring to the czar 
troops that, being afterwards well disciplined, 
became invincible, t 

Charles had all the advantages that could re- 
sult from a complete victory. Immense maga- 
zines, transports loaded with provisions, posts 
evacuated or taken, and the whole country at the 
mercy of the Swedish army, were consequences 
of the fortune of this day. Narva was now re- 
lieved, the shattered remains of the Russian army 
did not shew themselves ; the whole country as 
far as Pleskow lay open ; the czar seemed bereft 
of all resource for carrying on the war ; and the 
king of Sweden, victor in less than twelve 
months over the raonarchs of DenmarK, Poland, 

• Vol. I. p. 439, ot" the 4to. edition, printed at the 

t The chaplain Norberp, pretends, that, immediatelj 
tfter the battle of Narva, the Graad Seignior wrote a letter 
of congratulation to the king cf Sweden, in these terms. 
' The sultan Easha, by the grace of God, to Charles XII. 
&c ' The letter was dated from the sera of the creation 
01* the world. 


and Russia, was looked upon as the first prince 
in Europe, at an age when other princes hardly 
presume to aspire at reputation. But the un- 
shaken constancy that made a part of Peter's 
character, prevented him from being discouraged 
in any of his projects. 

A Russian bishop composed a prayer to St. 
Nicholas,* on account of this defeat, which was 
publicly read in all the churches throughout 
Russia. Tliis composition shews the spirit of the 
times, and the inexpressible ignorance from which 
Peter delivered his country. Amongst other 
things, it says, that the furious and terrible 
Swedes were sorcerers ; and complains that St. 
Nicholas had entirely abandoned his Russians. 
The prelates oi that country would blush to write 
such stuff at present ; and, without any offence 
to the holy St. Nicholas, the people soon per- 
ceived that Peter was the most proper person to 
be applied to, to retrieve their losses. 


Resources after the battle of Narva. That disaster en- 
tirely repaired. Peter sains a victory near the same 
place. The person who was afterwards empress made 
prisoner at the storming of a town. Peter's successes. 
His triumph at Moscow, t 

The years 1701 and 1702. 

'THE czar having, as has been already observed, 

quitted his army before Narva, in the end 

of November, 1700, in order to go and concert 

• See History of Charles XII. 
t This chapter and the following, are taken entirelv 
from the journal of Peter the Great, lent me from Peters^ 


matters with the King of Poland, received the 
news of the victory gained by the Swedes, as he 
was on his way. His constancy in all emergen- 
cies was equal to the intrepidity and valour o 
Charles. He deferred the conference with Au- 
gustus, and hastened to repair the disordered 
state of his afF.iirs. The scattered troops ren- 
dezvoused at Great Novogorod. and from thence 
marched to Pleskow, on the lake Peipus. 

It was not a little matter to be able to stand 
upon the defensive, after so severe a check : ' I 
know very well.' said Peter, ' that the Swedes 
•will have the advantage of us for some time, but 
they will teach us at length to conquer them.' 

1701.] Having provided for the present emer- 
gency, and ordered recruits to be raised on every 
side, he sent to Moscow to cast new cannon, 
his own having been all taken before Narva. 
There being a scarcity of metal, he took all the 
bells of the churches, and of the religious houses 
in JNtoscow. This action did not savour much of 
superstition, but at the same time it was no mark 
of impiety. With those bells he made one hun- 
dred large cannon, one hundred and forty-three 
field-pieces, from three to six pounders, besides 
mortars and howitzers, which were all sent to 
Pleskow. In other countries the sovereign or- 
ders, and others execute ; but here the czar was 
obliged to see every thing done himself. While 
he was hastening these preparations, he entered 
into a negotiation with the king of Denmark, 
who engaged to furnish him with three regiments 
of foot, and three of cavalrj ; an engagement 
which that monarch could not fulfil. 

As soon as this treaty was signed, he hurried 
to the theatre of war. He had an interview 
with king Augustus, at Birzen, (Feb. 27.) on the 
frontiers of Courland and Lithuania. His objecl 


was, to confirii) that prince in his res.olutioii ol 
maintaining the war against Charles XII. and 
at the same time to engage the Polish Diet to 
enter into the quarrel. It is well known, that a 
king of Poland is no more than the head person 
in a republic. The czar had the advantage of 
being always obeyed ; but the kings of Poland, 
and England, at present the king of Sweden, are 
all obliged to treat with their subjects.* Palkul 
and a few Poles in the interest of their monarch, 
assisted at these conferences. Peter promised to 
aid 'them with subsidies, and an army of twenty - 
five thousand men. Livonia was to be restored 
to Polap'', in case the diet would concur with 
their kiug, and assist in recovering this province : 
the diet hearkened more to their fears, than to 
the czar's proposals. The Poles were apprehen- 
sive of having their liberties restrained by the 
Saxons and Russians, and were still more afraid 
of Charles Xil. It was therefore agreed by the 
majority, not to serve their king, and not to fight. 

The partisans of Augustus grew enraged 
against the contrary faction, and a civil war was 
lighted up in the kingdom ; because their mo- 
narch had an intention to restore to it a consi- 
derable province. 

Feb.] Peter then had only an impotent ally in 
king Augustus, and feeble succours in the Saxon 
troops; and the terror which Chai.\es XII. in- 
spired on every side, reduced Peter to the neces- 
flity of depending entirely upon his own strength. 

March 1.] After travelling with the greatest 

• We must be^ leave to remark in this plaje, that a 
king of England has tlie power of doing pood in virtue of 
his own authority, and may do evil if so disposed, by 
havinc^ a mojority in a corrupt parliament ; whereas, a 
kinj^ of Poland can neithi r do pood nor evil, not having 
it in his power to dispose even of a prJr of colov.ra. 


expedition from Moscow to Courland, to confer 
with Augustus : he posted back from Courland lo 
M06COW, {■) forward the accomplishment of his 
promises. He actually dispatched Prince Repnin, 
with four thousand men, to Riga, on the banks of 
theDana.wheretheSaxon troops -were intrenched. 

July.] The general consternation was now in- 
creased ; for Charles, passing the Duna in spite 
of all the Saxons, who were advantageously 
posted on the opposite side, gained a complete 
victory over them ; and then, without waiting a 
moment, he made himself master of Courland, 
advanced into Lithuania, and by his presence 
encouraged the Polish faction that opposed 

Peter, notwithstanding all this, still pursued 
his designs. General Patkul, who had been the 
soul of the conference at Birzen, and who had 
engaged in his service, procured him some Ger- 
man officers, disciplined his troops, and supplied 
the place of general Le Fort : the czar ordered 
relays of horses to be provided for all the officers, 
and even for the German, Livonian, and Polish 
soldiers, who came to serve in his armies. He 
likewise inspected in person into every particular 
relating to their arms, their clothing, and sub- 

On the confines of Livonia and Esthonia, and 
to the eastward of the province of Novogcrod, 
lies the great lake Peipus, which receives the 
waters of the riverVelika, from out of the middle 
of Livonia, and gives rise in its northern part to 
the river Naiova, that washes the walls 01" the 
town of Narva, near which the Swedes gained 
their famous victor)'. This lake is upwards of 
thirty leagues in length, and fiom twelve to fif- 
teen in breadth. It was necessary to keep a fleet 
there, to i)revent the Swedish ships from insult' 


ing die province of Novogorod ; to be ready tc 
make a descent upon their coasts, and above all, 
to be a nursery for seamen. Peter employed the 
greatest part of the year 1701, in building on this 
lake an hundred half gallies,to carry about fifty 
men each ; and other armed barks were fitted 
out on the lake Ladoga. He directed all these 
operations in person, and set his new sailors to 
work : those who had been employed in 1697, at 
the Palus Maiotis were then stationed near the 
Baltic. He frequently quitted those occupations 
to go to Moscow, and the rest of the j)rovinces, in 
order to enforce the observance of the late 
customs he had introduced, or to establish new 

Those princes who have employed the leisure 
moments of peace in raising public works, have 
acquired to themselves a name : but that Peter, 
just after his misfortune at Narva, should apply 
himself to the junction of the Baltic, Caspian, and 
the Black seas, by canals, has crowned him with 
more real glory than the most signal victory. It 
was in the year 170'2, that he began to dig that 
deep canal, intended to join the Tanais and the 
Wolga. Other communications were likewise to 
be made, by means of lakes between the Tanais 
and the Duna ; whose waters empty themselves 
into the Baltic, in the neighbourhood of Kiga. 
But this latter project seemed to be still at a 
great distance, as Peter was far from having 
Riga in his possession. 

While Charles was laying all Poland waste, 
Peter caused to be brought from that kingdom, 
and from Saxony, a number of shepherds, with 
their flocks, in order to have wool fit for making 
good cloth ; he likewise erected manufactories of 
linen and paper : gave orders for collecting u 
number of artificers such as smiths, braziers, 


annourers, and founders, and the mines of Si- 
beria were ransacked for ore. Thu3 was he 
continually labouring for the embellishment and 
defence of his dominions. 

Churles pursued the course of his victories, and 
left a sufficient body of troops, as he imagined, 
on the frontiers of the czar's dominions, to secure 
all the posse.'sions of Sweden. He had already 
formed a design to dethrone Augustus, and after- 
wards to pursue the czar with his victorious army 
to the very gates of Moscow. 

There happened several slight engagements in 
the course of this year, between the Russians and 
Swedes, in which the latter did not always prove 
superior ; and even in those where they had the 
advantage, the Russians improved in the art of 
war. In short, in little more than twelve months 
after the battle of Narva, the czar's troops were 
so well disciplined, that they defeated one of the 
best generals belonging to the king of Sweden. 

Peter was then at Pleskov/, from whence he 
detached numerous bodies of troops, on all sides, 
to attack the Swedes; who were now defeated 
bj a native of Russia, and not a foreigner. His 
general, Sheremeto, by a skilful manoeuvre, beat 
up the quarters of the Swedish general, Slipen- 
bak, in several places, near Derpt, on the fron- 
tiers of Livonia ; and at last obtained a victory 
over that officer himself. (Jan. 11, I70'i.) And 
now, for the first time, the Russians took from 
the Swedes four of their colours ," which was 
thought a considerable number. 

May.] The lakes Peipus and Ladoga ware for 
some time afterwards the theatres of .sea-fights 
between the Russians and Swedes ; in which 
the latter had the same advanLages as by land : 
namely, that of discipline and long practice ; but 
the Russians had some few successes with their 


half gallies, at the lake Peipus, and the field- 
marshal Sheremeto took a Swedish frigate. 

By means of this lake, the czar kept Livonia 
and Esthonia in continual alarms ; his gallies 
frequently landed -everal regiments in those 
provinces ; who reimharked whenever they failed 
of success, or else pursued their advantage : the 
Swedes were twice beaten in the neighbourhood 
of Derpt, (June, July, J) while they were victori- 
ous every where else. 

In all these actions the Russians were always 
superior in number ; for this reason, Charles XI I. 
who was so successful in every other place, gave 
himself little concern about these trifling advan- 
tages gained by the czar : but he should have 
considered, that these numerous forces of his 
rival were every day growing more accustomed 
to the business of fighting, and might soon be- 
come formidable to himself. 

While both parties were thus engaged, by sea 
and land, in Livonia, Ingria, and Esthonia, the 
.:zar is informed that a Swedish fleet had set 
Bail, in order to destroy Archangel ; upon which 
he immediately marched thither, and every one 
was astonished to hear of him on the coasts of 
the Frozen Sea, when he was thought to be at 
Moscow. He put the town into a posture of de- 
fence, prevented the intended descent, drev/ the 
plan of a citadel, called the New Dwina, laid 
the first stone, and then returned to Moscow, and 
from thence to the seat of war. 

Charles made some alliances in Poland j but 
the Russians, on their side, made a progress in 
Ingria and Livonia. Marshal Sheremeto marched 
to meet the Swedish army, under the command 
of Slipenbak, gave that general battle near the 
little river Embac, and defeated him, taking six- 
teen colours, and twenty pieces of cannon, Nor- 


berg places this action on tl)e first of December, 
1701 ; but the journal of Peter the Great, fixes it 
on the nineteenth of July, ITO'-J. 

6th Aug.] After this advantage, the Russian 
general marched onwards, laid the whole country 
under contributions, and takes the litile town of 
iMarienburg, on the confines of Ingria and Livonia. 
There are several towns of this name in the north 
of Europe ; but this, though it no longer exists, is 
more celebrated in history than all the others, 
by the ;uiventure of the empress Catherine. 

This little town, having surrendered at discre- 
tion, the Swedes, who defended it, either through 
mistake or design, set fire to the magazine, 'lb* 
Russians, incensed at this, destroyed the town, 
and (jiirned away all the inhabitants. Among 
the prisoners was a young woman, a native of 
Livonia, who had been brought up in the house of 
a Lutheran minister of that place, named Gluck, 
and who afterwards became the sovereign of those 
who had taken her captive, and who governed 
Russia by the name of the empress Catherine. 

There bad been many instances before this, of 
private women being raised to the throne ; no- 
thing was more common in Russia, and in all 
Asiatic kingdoms, than for crowned heads to 
raarrj their own subjects ; but that a poor stran- 
ger, who had been taken prisoner in the storming 
of a town, should become the absolute sovereign 
of that very empire, whither she was led captive, 
is an instance which fortune never produced 
before nor since in the annals of the world. 

The Russian arms proved equally successful in 
IngTia : for their half gallies on the lake Ladoga 
compelled the Swedish fleet to retire to Wibourg,* 

• This seems a mistake ; our author probably m&aot 
to say Kcrcholme, because Wibourg is act oa ihe lak« 
Ladoga, but on the gulf of Finlaad. 


a town at ilie other extremity of this great lake, 
from whence they could see the siege of the for- 
tress of Notebourg, which was then carrying on 
by general Sherenieto. I'his was an undt^rtaking 
of much greater importance than was imagined 
at that time, as it might open a comniunicatiou 
with the Baltic Sea, the constant aim of Peter 
the Great. 

Notebourg was a strong fortified town, built on 
an island in the lake Ladoga, which it entirely 
commands, and by that means, whoever is in 
possession of it, must be masters of that part of 
the river Neva, wliich falls into the sea not far 
from thence. The Russians bombarded the town 
night and day, from the 18th of September to 
the l-th October ; and at length gave a general 
assault by three breaches. 1 he Swedish garri- 
son was reduced to a hundred men only capable 
of defending the place ; and, what is very asto- 
nishing, they did defend it, and obtain, even in 
the breach, an honourable capitulation : more- 
over, colonel Sli|>enbak, who commanded there, 
would not surrender the town, but on condition 
of being })ermitted to send for two Swec'-isb offi- 
cers from the nearest post, to examine the 
breaches (Oct. 16.), in order to bo witnesses for 
him to the king his master, that eighty-three 
men, who were all then left of the garrison capa- 
ble of bearing arms, besides one hundred and 
fifty sick and wounded, did not surrender to a 
whole army, till it was impossible for them to 
fight longer, or to preserve the place. This cir- 
cumstance alone shews what sort of an enemy 
the czar had to contend with, and the necessity 
there was of all his great efforts and military dis- 
cipline. He distributed gold medals among his 
officers on this occasion, and gave rewards to aK. 
the private men ; e.icept a few, whom he pu- 


nished for running away during the assault. 
Their comrades spit in their faces, and afterwards 
shot them to death ; thus adding ignominy tc 

NotebouTg was repaired, and its name changed 
to that of Shiiisselburg, or the City of the Key ; 
that place being the key of Ingria and Finland. 
The first governor was that MenzikofF, whom we 
-have already mentioned, and who was become 
an excellent officer, and had merited this honour 
by his gallant behaviour during the siege. His 
example served as an encouragement to all who 
have merit without being distinguished by birth. 

After this campaign of 1702, the czar resolved 
that Sheremeto, and the officers who had signa- 
lized themselves, should make a triumphal entry 
into Moscow. (Dec. 17.) All the prisoners taken 
in this campaign marched in the train of the vic- 
tors, who had the Swedish colours and standards 
carried before them, together with the flag of 
the Swedish frigate taken on the lake Peipus. 
Peter assisted in the prejjarations for this trium- 
phal pomp, as he had shared in the great actions 
it celebrated. 

These shows naturally inspired emulation, 
otherwise they would have been no more than 
idle ostentation. Charles despised every thing 
of this kind, and, after the battle of Narva, held 
his enemies, (heir eiForts, and their triumphs, in 
equal contempt. 



R«fonDation at Moscow — Further successes. — Founding 
of Petersburg. — The czar takes Narva, &:c. 

T^HE short stay which the czar made at Mos- 
cow, in the beginning of the winter 1703, 
was employed in seeing all his new regulations 
put into execution, and in improving the civil as 
well as the military government. Even his very 
amusements were calculated to inspire his sub- 
jects with a taste for the new mannei of living 
he had introduced amongst them. In this view, 
he invited all the boyards, and principa lladies 
of Moscow, to the marriage of one of his sisters, 
at which every one was required to appear dressed 
after the ancient fashion. A dmner was served 
up just in the same manner as those in the six- 
teenth century* By an old superstitious custom, 
no one was to light a fire on the wedding-day, 
even in the coldest season. This custom was 
rigorously observed upon this occasion. The 
Russians formerly never drank wine, but only 
mead and brandy ; no other liquors were permit- 
ted on this day, and, when the guests made com- 
plaints, he replied, in a joking manner, * This 
was a custom with your ancestors, and old cus- 
toms are always the best.' This raillery con- 
tributed greatly to the reformation of those who 
preferred past times to the present, at least it put 
a stop to their murmurings ; and there are seve- 
ral nations that stand in need of the like example. 
A still more useful establishment than any of 
the rest, was that of a printing-press, for Rus- 
sian and Latin types ; the implements of which 
were all brought from Holland. They began by 

• TakcD from the journal of Peter the Orfaf- 


printing translations in the Russian language of 
several books of morality and polite literature. 
Ferguson founded schools for geometry, astro- 
nomy, and na%-igation. 

Another foundation, no less necessary, was 
that of a large hospital ; not one of those houses 
which encourage idleness, and perpetuate the 
misery of the people, but such as the czar had 
seen at Amsterdam, where old persons and chil- 
dren are employed at work, and where every one 
within the walls is made useful in some way or 

He established several manufactories ; and, as 
soon as hr had put in motion all those arts 
to which he gave birth in Moscow, he hastened 
to Woronitz, to give directions for building two 
ships, of eighty guns each, with long cradles, or 
caserns, fitted to the ribs of the vessel, to buoy 
her up, and carry her safely over the shoals and 
banks of sand that lay about Azoph ; an ingenious 
contrivance, similar to that used by the Dutch 
in Holland, to get their large ships over the 

Having made all the necessary preparations 
against the Turks, he turned his attention, in the 
next place, against the Swedes. He went to 
visit the ships that were building at Olcnita 
(March 30, 1703.), a town between the lakes 
Ladago and Onega, where he had established a 
foundry for making all kinds of arms ; and, when 
every thing bore a military aspect, at Moscow 
flourished all the arts of peace. A spring of mi- 
neral waters, which has been lately discovered 
near Olonitz, has added to the reputation of that 
place. From thence he proceeded to Shlussel- 
burg. wluch he fortified. 

We have already observed, that Peter was de 
terrained to pass regularly through all themilitarf 


degrees : he had served as lieutenant of. bom- 
bardiers, under prince jMenzikoft", before that 
favourite was made governor of Shlusselburg, and 
he now look the rank of captain, and served under 
marshal Sheremeto. 

There was an important fortress near the lake 
Ladoga, and not far from the river Neva, named 
Nyantz, or Nya.* It was necessary to make 
himself master of this place, in order to secure 
bis conquest, and favour his other designs. He 
therefore undertook to transport a number of small 
barks, filled with soldiers, and to drive off the 
Swedish vessels that were bringing supplies, while 
Sheremeto had the care of the trenches. ( May 22.) 
The citadel surrendered, and two Swedish vessels 
arrived, too late to assist the besieged, being both 
attacked and taken by the czar. His journal says, 
that, as a reward for his service, ' The captain of 
bombardiers was created knight of the order of 
St. Andrew by admiral Golowin, the first knight 
of that order.' 

After the taking of the fort of Nya, he resolved 
upon building the city of Petersburg, at the mouth 
of the Neva, upon the gulf of Finland. 

The affairs of king Augustus were in a despe- 
rate wav ; the excessive victories of the Swedes 
in Poland had emboldened his enemies in the op- 
position ; and even his friends had obliged him 
to dismiss a body of twenty thousand Russians, 
that the czar had sent him to reinforce his army. 
They thought, by this sacrifice, to deprive the 
malcontents of all pretext for joining the king of 
Sweden : but enemies are disarmed by force, a 
show of weakness serving only to n^ake tliein more 
insolent. These twenty thous^md men, that had 
been disciplined by Patkul, proved of infinite 
service in Livonia and Ingria, while Augustus 
• Some writers call it Nyenschnnla. 


was losing his dominions. This reinforcement, 
and, above all, the possession of Nya, enabled the 
czar to found his new capital. 

It was in this barren and marshy spot of ground, 
which has communication with the main land 
only by one way, that Peter laid the foundation 
of Petersburg, in the sixtieth degree of latitude, 
and the forty-fourth and a half of longitude. The 
ruins of some of the bastions of Nya was made 
use of for the first stones of the foundation.* They 
began by building a small fort upon one of the 
islands, which is now in the centre of the city. 
The Swedes beheld, without apprehension, a 
settlement in the midst of a morass, and inacces- 
sible to vessels of burden ; but, in a very short 
time, they saw the fortifications advanced, a town 
raised, and the little island of Cronstadt, situated 
over against it, changed, in 1704, into an im- 
pregnable fortress, under the cannon of which 
even the largest fleets may ride in safety. 

These works, which seemed to require a time 
of profound peace, were carried on ir. the very 
bosom of war ; workmen of every sort were called 
together, from Moscow, Astracan, Casan, and 
the Ukraine, to assist in building the new city. 
Neither the difficulties of the ground, that was to 
be rendered firm, and raised, the distance of the 
necessary materials, the unforeseen obstacles, 
which are for ever starting up in all great under- 
takings ; nor, lastly, the epidemical disorder, 
which carried off a prodigious number of the work 
men, could discourage the royal founder ; and, 
in the space of five months, a new city rose from 
the ground. It is true, indeed, it was little 
better than a cluster of huts, with only two brick 
houses, surrounded by ramparts ; but this was 
• Pelergburg was founded on Whitsunday, 
the «7th May, 1703. 


all that was then necessary. Time and persever- 
ance accomplished the rest. In less than five 
months, after the founding of Petersburg, a Dutch 
ship came to trade there, (Nov.) the captain of 
which was handsomely rewarded, and the Dutch 
Boon found the way to Petersburg. 

While Peter was directing the establishment 
of this coloDY, he took care to provide every day 
for its safety, by making himself master of the 
neighbourins posts. A Swedish colonel, named 
Croniort, had taken post on the river Septra, and 
thence threatened the rising city. Peter, without 
delay, marched against him with his two regi- 
ments of guards, defeated him, (July 8.) and 
obliged him to repass the river. Having thus put 
his town in safety, he repaired to Olonitz,(Sep.) 
to give directions for building a number of smal] 
vessels, and afterwards returned to Petersburg, 
on board a frigate that had been built bj his 
direction, taking with him six transport vessels, 
for present use, till the others could be got ready. 
Even at this juncture he did not forj^et his ally, 
the king of Poland, but sent him (Nov.) a rein- 
forcement of twelve thousand foot, a;nl a subsidy 
in money of three hundred thousand rubles, which 
make about one million live hundred thousand 
French livres.* It has been remarked, that his 
annual revenue did not exceed then five million^ 
rubles ; a sum, which the expense of his fleets 
of his armies, and of his new establishments, 
seemed more than sufficient to exhaust. He had, 
at almost one and the same time, fortified No- 
vogorod, Pleskow, Kiow, Smolensko, Azoph, 
Archangel, and founded a capital. Notwith- 
standing all which, he had still a sufficiency left 
to assist his ally with men and money. Cornelius 
Je Bruine, a Dutchman, who was on his travels, 
* About sixty thousand pounds sterling. 


and at that time iu Russia, and with whom he 
frequently conversed very freely, as indeed he 
did with al! strangers, says, that tue czar himseli 
assured him, that he had still three hundred 
thousand rubles remaining in his coffers, after all 
the expenses of the war were defrayed. 

In order to put his infant city of Petersburg out 
of danger of insult, he went in person to sound 
the depth of water thereabouts, fixed upon a place 
for building the fort of Cronstadt; and, after mak- 
ing the model of it in wood with his own hands, 
he employed prince ^lenzikoff to put it in execu- 
tion. From thence he went to pass the winter 
at Moscow, (Nov. d.) in order to estaLlish, by 
degrees, the several alterations he bad made in 
the Ictws, manners, and customs of Russia. He 
regulated the finances, and put them upon anew 
footing. He expedited the works that were carry- 
ing on in the Woronitz, at Azoph, and in a harbour 
which he had caused to be made on the Palus 
MsBotis, under the fort of Taganrock. 

Jan. 1704.] The Ottoman Porte, alarmed al 
these preparations, sent an embassy to the czar, 
complaining thereof: to wh'ch he returned for 
answer that he was master in his own dominions, 
as well as the grand seignior was in Turkey, and 
that it was no infringement of the peace to render 
the Russian power respectable on the Euxine Sea. 

March 30.] Upon his return to Petersburg, 
finding his new citadel of Cronstadt, which had 
been founded in the bosom of the sea, completely 
finished, he furnished it with the necessary artil- 
lery. But, in order to settle himself firmly in 
Ingria, and entirely to repair the disgrace he had 
suffered before Narva, he esteemed it necessary 
to take that city. While he was making prepa- 
rations for the siege, a small fleet appeared on 
the lake of Peipus, to oppose his designs. The 


Russian half galleys went out to meet them, gave 
tbem battle, and took the whole squadron, which 
had on boardninety-eight pieces ol cannon. After 
this victory, the czar lays siege to Narva both by 
sea and Jand, (April,) and, which was most ex- 
traordinary, he lays siege to the city of Derptin 
Esthonia at the same time. 

Who would have imagined, that there was a 
university in Derpt "? Gustavus Adolphus had 
founded one there, but it did not render that city 
more famous, Derpt being only known by these 
two sieges. Peter was incessantly going from the 
one to the other, forwarding the attacks, and 
directing all the operations. The Swedish gene- 
ral Slipeabak was in the neighbourhood of Derpt, 
with a body of two thousand five hundred men. 

The besiegers expected every instant when he 
would throw succours into the place ; but Peter, 
on this occasion, had recour&e V> a stratagem 
worthy of more frequent imitation : he ordered 
two regiments of foot, and one of horse, to be 
clothed in the same uniform, and to carry the 
same standards and colours as the Swedes : these 
sham Swedes attack the trenches, (June '^7.) and 
the Russians pretend to be put to flight ; the gar- 
rison, deceived by appearances, make a sally ; 
upon which the mock combatants join their forces 
and fall upon the Swedes, one half of whom were 
left dead upon the place, and the rest made shift 
to get back to the town. Slipenbak arrives soon 
after with succours to relieve it, but is totally 
defeated. At length Derpt was obliged to ca- 
pitulate, (July ii'3.) just as the czar was prepar- 
ing every thing for a general assault. 

At the same time Peter met with a consider- 
able check, on the siile of his new city of Peters- 
burg ; but this did not prevent him either from 
going on with the works of that place, or from 


vigorously prosecuting the sieje of Narva. Ithaa 
already been observed, that he sent a reinforce- 
ment of troops and money to king Augustus, 
whea his enemies were driving him from his 
throne ; but both these aids proved useless. The 
Russians having joined the Lithuanians in the 
interest of Augustus, were totally defeated in 
Courland by the Swedish general Levenhaupt • 
(July 31.) and had the victors directed their ef- 
forts towards Livonia, Ksthonia, and Ingria, they 
might have destroyed the czar's new works, and 
baffled all the fruits of his great undertakings. 
Peter was every day sapping the breast-work of 
Sw^eden, while Charles seemed to neglect ail re- 
sistance, for the pursuit of a less advantageous, 
though a more brilliant fanoe. 

On the 13th of July, 1704, only a single 
Swedish colonel, at the head of his detachment, 
obliged the Polish nobility to nominate a new king, 
on the field of election, called Kolo, near the city 
of Warsaw. The cardinal -primate of the king- 
dom, and several bishops, submitted to a Lu- 
theran prince, noiwith-taading ihe menaces and 
excommunications of the supreme pontiff : in 
short, every thing gave way to force. All the 
world knows in what manner Stanislaus Leczin- 
sky was elected king, and how Charles XIL 
obliged the greatest part of Poland to acknow- 
ledge him. 

Peter, however, would not abandon the de- 
throned king, but redoubled his assistance, in 
proportion to the necessities of his ally ; and, 
while his enemy was making kings, he beat the 
Swedish generals one after another in Esthonia 
and Ingria ; from thence he passed to the siege 
of Narva, and gave several vigorous assaults to 
the town. There were three bastions, famous at 
least for their names, called Victorv, Hoboux, and 


Glorj. The czar carried them all three sword- 
in-hand. The besiegers forced their way into 
the town, where they pillaged and exercised all 
those cruelties which were but too customary at 
that time, between the Swedes and Russians. 

August 20.] Peter, on this occasion, gave an 
example that ought to have gained him the af- 
fections of all his new subjects : he ran every 
where in person, to put a stop to the pillage and 
slaughter, rescues several women out of the 
clutches of the brutal soldiery, and, after having, 
with his own hand, killed two of those ruffians 
who had refused to obey his orders, he enters the 
town-house, whither the citizens had ran in 
crowds for shelter, and laying his sword, yet 
reeking with blood, upon the table — ' This sword,' 
said he, ' is not stained with the blood of your 
fellow citizens, but with that of my own Boldier.s, 
which 1 have spilt to save your lives'. 


Peter theGreat keeps possession of all Ingria.whileCharlee 
XII. is triumphant in other places. — Rise of Menzikoff. 
— Petersburg secured. — The czar executes his designs 
notwithstanding the victories of the king of Sweden.* 

itn* T^ETKR being now master of all In- 

l/O-t. J. . /• J 1 . r 

gna, conferred the government of 

that province upon Menzikoff; and at the 
same time gave him the title of prince, and the 
rank of major-general. Pride and prejudice 
might, in other countries, find means to gain- 
say, that a pastry cook's boy should be raised 

• All the foregoing chapters, and likewise thoee which 
fellow, are taken from the journals of Peter the Great, and 
the papers sent me from Petersburg, carefully compared 
with other memoira. 


to be a general and governor, and to princely 
dignity ; but Peter had already accustonaed his 
subjects to see, without surprise, every thing given 
to merit, and nothing to mere nobility. Menzikoff, 
by a lucky accident, had, while a boy, been taken 
from his original obscurity, and placed in the 
czar's family,* where he learnt several languages, 
and acquired a knowledge of public affairs, both, 
in the cabinet and field ; and having found means 
to ingratiate himself with his master, he after- 
wards knew how to render himself necessary. 
He greatly forwarded the works at Petersburg, of 
which he had the direction ; several brick and 
stone-houses were already built, with an arsenal 
and magazines ; the fortifications were com- 
pleted, but the palaces were not built till some 
time afterwards. 

• Menzikoff's parents were vassals of the monastery d 
Cosmopoly : at the age of thirteen, he went to Moscow, 
and was taken into the service of a pastrj- cook. Hia 
pmplojment was singing ballads, and crying puffs and 
cakes about the streets. One da^-, as he was following 
this occupation, the czar happening to liear him, and to 
be diverted with one of his songs., sent for him, and asked 
him if he woald sell his pies and his basket ? The boy 
answered, that his business was to sell his pits, but he 
must ask his master's leave to sell his basket ; ^et as every 
thing belonged to his prince, his majestj- had only to lay 
his commands upon him. The czar was so pleased with 
this answer, that he immediately ordered him to court, 
where Le gave him at first a mean employment ; but 
being every day more pleased with his wit, he thought 
fit to place him about his person, and to make him groom 
of hisbf-dchamber, from whence he craduallj' raised him 
to tha highest preferBients. He was tall and well shaped. 
At his first coming into the czar's service, heinlisted in 
Le Fort's company, and acquired, under that general's 
inetruciion, such a degree of knowledge and skill, as en- 
abled him to command armies, and to become one of the 
bravest and most auccessful generals in Russia. 


Peter was scarcely settled in Narva, when b« 
offered fresh succours to the dethroned king of 
Poland ; he promised him a body of troops over 
and above the twelve thousand men he had al- 
ready sent him, and actually dispatched general 
Repnin (Aug. 19.) from the frontiers of Lithuania, 
with six thousand horse, and the same number of 
foot. All this while be did not lose sight of his 
colony of Petersburg: the buildings went on very 
fast ; his navy encreased daily ; several ships 
and frigates were on the stocks at Olmutz ; these 
he took care to see finished, and brought them 
himself into the harbour of Petersburg. 

Oct. 11.] Each time he returned to Moscow, 
was distinguished by triumphal entries. In this 
manner did he revisit it this year, from whence 
he made only one excursion, to be present at the 
launching of his first ship of eighty guns upon the 
Woronitz, (Dec. 30.) of which ship he liiraseJf 
had drawn the dimensions the preceding year. 

Blay, 1703.] As soon as the campaign could 
be opened in Poland, he hastened to the army 
which he had sent to the assistance of Augustus, 
on the frontiers of that kingdom ; but, while he 
was thus supporting liis ally, a Swedish fleet put 
to sea, to destroy Petersburg, and the fortress of 
Cronslot, as yet hardly finished. This fleet con- 
sisted of twenty -two ships of war, from fifty-four 
to sixty-four guns each, besides six frigates, two 
bomb-ketches, and two fire-ships. 'Jhe troops 
that were sent on this expedition, made a de- 
scent on the little island of Kotin ; but a Russian 
colonel, named Tolhogwin, who commanded a 
regiment there, ordered his soldiers to lie down 
flat on their bellies, while the Swedes were com- 
ing on shore, and then suddenly rising up, thej 
tlirew in so brisk and well directed a fire, that 
the Swedes were put into coDfusion, and forced 


to retreat with the utmost precipitation to their 
ships, leaving behind them all their dead, and 
upwards of three hundred prisoners. (Juce 7.) 

However, their fleet still continued hovering 
about the coast, and threatened Petersburg. They 
made another descent, and were repulsed as be- 
fore (June i'5.) : a body of land-forces were also 
advancing from Wiburn,* under the command 
of the Swedish general Meidel, and look their 
route by Shlusselburg : this was the most con- 
siderable attempt that Charles had yet made 
upon those territories, which Peter had either 
conquered or new formed. The Swedes were 
every where repulsed, and Petersburg remained 
in security. 

Peter, on the other hand, advanced towards 
Courland, with a design to penetrate as far as 
Riga. His plan was to make himself master or 
Livonia, while Charles XII. was busied in re- 
ducing the Poles entirely under the obedience of 
the new king he had given them. The czar was 
still at Wilnaw in Lithuania, and his general 
Sheremeto was approaching towards Mittau, the 
capital of Courland ; but there he was met by 
general Levenhaupt, already famous by several 
victories, and a pitched battle was fought be- 
tween the two armies at a place called Gema- 
vershoff, or Gemavers. 

In all those actions where experience and dis- 
cipline decide the day, the Swedes, though in 
ferior in number, had the advantage. The Rus- 
sians were totally defeated, (June 28.) and lose 

• M. de Voltaire calls this citj- Wibor.rq, in this and 
some other places of his history. The French are not 
always very attentive to the right names of places, bnt 
iere it is of some consequence. Wibour^ is the capital 
jf Jutland in Denmark. Wiburn, the cit3' here meant, 
hi tbe capital of Carelia in Russian Finland. 


their artillery. Peter, Tiotwithstanding the loss 
of three battles, viz. atGeiuavers, at Jacobstadt, 
and at Narva, always retrieved his losses, and 
even converted them to his advantage. 

After the battle of Gemavers, he marched his 
array into Courland ; came before Mittau, made 
himself master of the town, and afterwards laid 
siege to the citadel, which he took by capitu- 

Sept. 14, 1705.] The Russian troops at that 
time had the character of distinguishing their 
successes by rapine and pillage ; a custom of too 
great antiquity in all nations. But Peter, at the 
taking of Narva, had made such alterations in 
this custom, that the Russian soldiers appointed 
to guard the vaults where the grand dukes of 
Courland were buried, in the- castle of Mittau, 
perceiving that the bodies had been taken out o! 
their tombs, and stripped of their ornaments, re- 
fused to take possession of their post, till a Swe- 
dish colonel had been first sent for to inspect the 
condition of the place ; who gave them a certi- 
ficate that this outrage had been committed by 
the Swedes themselves. 

A rumour which was spread throughout the 
•whole empire, that the czar had been totally de- 
feated at the battle of Gemavers, proved of greater 
prejudice to his affairs, than even the loss of that 
battle. The remainder of the ancient strelitzea 
in garrison at Astracan, emboldened by this false 
report, mutinied, and murdered the governor of 
the town. Peter was obliged to send marshal 
Sheremeto with a body of forces to quell thu 
insurrection, and punish the mutineers. 

Every thing seemed now to conspire against 
the czar; the success and valour of Charles XII.; 
the misfortunes of Augustus ; the forced neutra- 
lity of Denmark j the insurrection of the ancient 


streiitzes ; the murmurs of a people, seosible of 
the restraint, but not of the utility of the late re- 
form ; the discontent of the grandees, who found 
themselves subjected to military discipline ; and, 
lastly, the exhausted state of the finances, were 
suflScient to have discouraged any prince except 
Peter : but he did not despond, even for an in- 
stant. He soon quelled the revolt, and having 
provided for the safety of Ingria, and secured the 
possession of the citadel of IMittau, in spite of 
the victorious Levenhaupt, who had not troops 
enough to oppose him ; he found himself at li- 
berty to march an army through Samojitia and 

He now shared with Charles XII. the glorj of 
giving laws to Poland. He advanced as far as 
Tikoczin : where he had an interview for the 
second time with king Augustus ; when he en- 
deavoured to comfort him under his misfortunes, 
promising to revenge his cause, and, at the same 
time, made him a present of some colours, which 
Menzikoff had taken from the troops of his rival. 
The two monarchs afterwards went together to 
Grodno, the capital of Lithuania, where they 
staid till the 15th of December. At their parting. 
Peter presented him both men and money, and 
then, according to his usual custom, went to pa.'S 
some part of the winter at Moscow, (30 Dec.) 
to encourage the arts and sciences there, and to 
enforce his new laws there, after having made a 
very difficult and laborious campaign. 



^^ile Peter i» strengthening his conquests, and im- 
proving the police of his dominion, his enemy Charles 
XII. gains several battles: gives laws to Poland and 
Saxony, and to Augustus, notwithstanding a victory 
gained by the Russians. — Augustus resigns the crown, 
and delivers up Patkul, the czar's ambassador. — 
Murder of Patkul, who is sentenced to be broke upon 
the wheel. 

1706. pETER was hardly returned to Moscow, 
when he heard that Charles XI [ after 
being every where victorious, was advancing to- 
wards Grodno, to attack the Russian troops. 
King Augustus had been obliged to fly from 
Grodno, and retire with precipitation towards 
Saxony, with four regiments of Russian dragoons ; 
a step which both weakened and discouraged the 
army of his protector. Peter found all the ad- 
•vances to Grodno occupied by the Swedes, and 
his troops dispersed. 

While he was with the greatest difficulty as- 
sembling his troops in Lithuania, the famous 
Schullemburg, who was the last support Augus- 
tus had left, and who afterwards gained so much 
glory by the defence of Corfu against the Turks, 
was advancing on the side of Great Poland, with 
about twelve thousand Saxons, and six thousand 
Russians, taken from the body troops with which 
the czar liad entrusted that unfortunate prince. 
ScliuUeinburg expected with just reason, that 
he should be able to prop the sinking fortunes of 
Augustus; he perceived that Charles Xll. was 
employed in Lithuania, and tbat there was only 
a body of ten thousand Swedes under general 
Renschild to interrupt his march ; be therefore 
advanced with confidence as far as the frontiers 
of SiJesia; which is the passage out of Saxony 


into Upper Poland. When he came near the 
village of Fraustadt, on the frontiers of that king- 
dom, he met marshal Renschiid, who was ad- 
vancing to give him battle. 

Whatever care 1 take to avoid repeating what 
has been already mentioned in the history of 
Charles XH., I am obliged in this place to take 
notice once more, that there was in the Saxon 
army a French regiment, that had been taken pri- 
soners at the famous battle of Hochsted (or Blen- 
heim) and obliged to serve in the Saxon troops. 
I\Iy memoirs say, that this regiment had the 
charge of the artillery, and add, that the French, 
struck with the fame and reputation of Charles 
XII., and discontented with the Saxon service, 
laid down their arms as soon as they came in 
sight of the enemy (Feb.), and desired to be 
taken into the Swedish army, in which they con- 
tinued to the end of the war. This defection was 
as the beginning, or signal of a total overthrow 
to the Russian army, of which no more than 
three battalions were saved, and almost every 
man of these wns wounded ; and as no quarter 
w-as granted, the remainder was cut in pieces. 

Norberg, the chaplain, pretends, that the Swe- 
dish word at this battle was, ' In toe name of 
God,' and that of the Russians, ' Kill all;' but 
it was the Swedes who killed all in God's name. 
The czar himself declares, in one of his manifes- 
toes,* that a number of Russians, Cossacks, and 
Calmucks, that had been made prisoners, were 
murdered in cool blood three days after that 
battle. The irregular troops on both sides had 
accustomed their generals to these cruelties, 
than which greater were never committed in the 
most barbarous times. I had the honour to hear 

• The czar's manifesto in the LTiraine, I709. 


k^g Stanislaus himself saj, that in one of those 
engagements which were so frequent in Poland, 
a Russian officer who had formerly been one of 
his friends, came to put himself under his pro- 
tection, after the defeat of the corps he com- 
manded ; and that the Swedish general Steinbock 
shot him dead with a pistol, while he held hira 
in his arms. 

Ihis was the fourth battle the Russians had 
lost against the Swedes, without reckoning the 
other victories of Charles XII. in Poland. The 
czar's troops that were in Grodno, ran the risk 
of suffering a still greater disgrace, by being sur- 
rounded on all sides ; but he fortunately found 
means to get them together, and even to strengthen 
them with new reinforcements. But necessitated 
at once to provide for the safety of this army, 
and the security of his conquests in Ingria, he 
ordered prince INIenzikoff to march with the army 
under his command eastward, and from thence 
southward as far as Kiow. 

While his men were upon their march, he re- 
pairs to Shiusselburg. from thence to Narva, and 
to his colony of Petersburg (August), and puts 
those places in a posture of defence. From the 
Baltic he flies to the banks of the Boristhenes, 
to enter into Poland by the way of Kiow, making 
it still his chief care to render those victories of 
Charles, which he had not been able to prevent, 
of as little advantage to the victor as possible. 
At this very time he meditated a new conquest ; 
namely, that of Wibourg, the capital of Carelia. 
situated on the gulf of Finland. lie went in 
person to lay siege to this place, but for this time 
it withstood the power of his arms ; succours 
arrived in season, and he was obliged to raise the 
siege. (Oct.) His rival, Charles XII. did not, in 
Cact, make any couijuests, though he gained so 



manj? battles : he was at that time in pursuit of 
king Augustus in Saxony, being always more in- 
tent upon humbling that prince, and crushing him 
beneath the weight of his superior power and re- 
putation, than upon recovering Ingria, that had 
been wrested from him by a vanquished enemy. 

He spread terror through all Upper Poland, 
Silesia, and Saxony, King Augustus's whole 
family, his mother, his wife, his son, and the 
principal nobility of the country, were retired 
into the heart of the empire. Augustus now sued 
for peace, choosing rather to trust himself to the 
mercy of his conqueror, than in the arms of his 
protector. He entered into a treaty which de- 
prived him of the crown of Poland, and covered 
him at the same time with ignominy. This was 
a private treaty, and was to be concealed from 
the czar's generals, with whom he had taken re- 
fuge in Poland, while Charles XII. was giving 
laws in Leipsic, and acting as absolute master 
throughout his electorate. 

His plenipotentiaries bad uJready signed the 
fatal treaty (Sept. 11.), by which he not only di- 
vested himself of the crown of Poland, but pro- 
mised never more to assume the title of king ; 
at the same time he recognized Stanislaus, re- 
nounced his alliance with the czar his benefactor ; 
and, to complete his humiliation, engaged to de- 
liver up to Charles XII. John Reinold Patkul, the 
czar's ambassador and general in the Russian ser- 
vice, who was then actually fighting in his cause. 
He had some time before ordered Patkul to be 
arrested upon false suspicions, contrary to the 
law of nations ; and now, in direct violation of 
these laws, he delivered hira up to the enemy. 
It had been better for him to have died sword-in- 
hand, than to have concluded such a treaty • a 
treaty, which not only robbed him of his crown, 


and of his reputation, but likewise endangered 
his liberty, because he was at that time in the 
power of prince Wenzikoff in Posnania, and the 
few Saxons that he had with him, were paid by 
the Russians. 

Prince Menzikoflf was opposed in that district 
by a Swedish army, reinforced with a strong party 
of Poles, in the interest of the new king Stanis- 
laus, under the command of general Meyerfeld ; 
and not knowing that Augustus had engaged in 
a treaty with the enemies of Russia, had pro- 
posed to attack them, and Augustus did not dare 
to refuse. The battle was fought near Calish 
(Oct. 19.), in the palatinate belonging to Stanis- 
laus ; this was the first pitched battle the Rus- 
sians had gained against the Swedes. Prince 
MenzikofF had all the glory of the action, four 
thousand of the enemy were left dead on the field, 
and two thousand five hundred and ninety-eight 
were made prisoners. 

It is difficult to comprehend how Augustus 
could be prevailed on, after this battle, to ratify 
a treaty which deprived him of all the fruits of 
his victory. But Charles was still triumphant 
in Saxony, where his very name spread terror. 
The success of the Russians appeared so incon- 
siderable, and the Polish party against Augustus 
was so strong, and, in fine, that monarch was so 
ill-advised, that he signed the fatal convention. 
Neither did he stop here : he wrote to his envoy 
Finkstein a letter, that was, if possible, more 
shanieful than the treaty itself; for therein he 
asked pardon for having obtained a victory, 
* protesting, that the battle had been fought 
against his will ; that the Russians and the Poles, 
his adherents, had obliged him to it; that he 
had, with a view of preventing it, actually made 
fiome movements to abandon Menzikoff; that 


Meyerfeld might have beaten him, had he made 
the'most of that opportunity; that he was ready 
to restore all the Swedish prisoners, or to break 
vith the Russians ; and that, in fine, he would 
give the king of Sweden all possible satisfaction,' 
for having dared to beat his troops. 

This whole aflfair, unparalleled and inconceiv- 
able as it is, is, nevertheless, strictly true. When 
we reflect, that, with all this weakness, Augustus 
was one of the bravest pinces in Europe, we 
may plainly perceive, that the loss or jireserva- 
tion, the rise or declme of empires, are entirely 
owing to fortitude of mind. 

Two other circumstances concurred to com- 
plete the disgrace of the king of Poland elector 
of Saxony, and heighten the abuse which Charles 
XII. made of his good fortune ; the first was his 
obliging Augustus to write a letter of congratu- 
lation to the new king Stanislaus on his election : 
the second was terrible, he even compelled Au- 
gustus to deliver up Patkul, the czar's ambassa- 
dor and general.* It is sufficiently known to 
all Europe, that this minister was afterwards 

• The impartiality of an historian obliges us in this 
place to advertise our readers, tliat it was not the fault 
of Augustus, that Patkul -was delivered up to the king 
of Sweden ; Augustus having privatelj' sent orders to 
the commandant of the fort of Konigstein, where Patkul 
was then confined, to suffer his prisoner to make his es- 
cape in time. But the avarice of this officer proved 
fatal to the life of the unhappj' captive, and to the cha. 
racter of his own prince ; for while he was endeavour-- 
ing to make the best bargain he could for himself, the 
time slipped inconceivably away ; and while they wen 
yet debating upon the price of the proposed releasement, 
the guards sent by Charles came and demanded Patkul 
in the name of their sovereign. The commandant waa 
forced to obey, and the unhappy victim was delivered 
up, contrary to the intentions of Aagustua. 


brcke alive upon the wheel at Casimir, in the 
month of September, 1707. Norberij, the chap- 
lain, confesses that tlie orders for his execution 
were all written in Charles's own baud. 

There is not a civilian in all Europe, nay 
even the vilest slave, but must feel the whole 
horror of this barbarous injustice. The first crime 
of this unfortunate man was, the having made 
an humble representation of the rights and pri- 
vileges of his country, at the head of six Livo- 
nian gentlemen, who were sent as deputies from 
the whole province : having been condemned 
to die for fulfilling the first of duties, that of 
serving his country agreeable to her laws. This 
iniquitous sentence put him in full possession of 
a right, which all mankind derive from nature, 
that of choosing his country. Being afterwards 
made embassador to one of the greatest monarchs 
in the universe, his person thereby became sacred. 
On this occasion the law of force violated that of 
nature and nations. In former ages cruelties of 
this kind were hidden in the blaze of success, 
but now they sully the glory of a conqueror. 


Attempts made to set up a third king of Poland.— 
Charles XII. sets out from Saxony with a powerful 
army, and marches throusjh Poland in a victorious man- 
ner. — Cruellies committed. — Conduct of the czar. — 
Successfs of the kini; of Sweden, who at length ad- 
vances towards Russia. 

1707 C"'^^^'^^^ ^^^" ^"j^y*^'^ ^^® ^'■"'^^ o' 

his good fortune in Altranstadt near 
Leipsic, whiiher the Protestant princes of the 
German em{)ire repaired in droves to pay homage 
G -i 


to him, and implore his protection. He leceived 
ambassadors from almost all the potentates in 
Europe. The emperor Joseph implicitly fol- 
lowed his directions. Peter then perceiving that 
king Augustus had renounced his protection and 
his own crown, and that a part of the Polish na- 
tion had acknowledged Stanislaus, listened to the 
proposals made him by Yolkova, of choosing a 
third king. 

A diet was held at Lublin, in which several of 
the pal were proposed ; and among others. 
Prince Ragotski was put upon the list ; that 
prince, who was so long kept in prison, when 
young, by the emperor Leopold, and who after- 
wards when he procured his liberty, was his com- 
petitor for the throne of Hungary. 

This negotiation was pushed very far, and 
Poland was on the point of having three kings 
at one time. Prince Ragotski not succeeding, 
Peter thought to bestow the crown on Siniauski, 
grand general of the republic ; a person of great 
power and interest, and head of a third party, 
that would neither acknowledge the dethroned 
king, nor the person elected by the opposed 

In the midst of these troubles, there was a talk 
of peace, as is customary on the like occasions. 
Besseval the French envoy in Saxony interposed, 
in order to bring about a reconciliation between 
the czar and the king of Sweden. Itwas thought 
at that time by the court of France, that Charles> 
having no longer either the Russians or Poles to 
fight against, might turn his arms against the 
emperor Joseph, with whom he was not on very 
good terms, and on whom he had imposed se- 
veral laws during his stay in Saxony. But 
Charles made answer, that he would treat with 
the czar in Moscow. It was on this occasion that 


Peter said, ' My brother Charles wants to act 
the A.exander, but he shall not find a Darius 
in me.' 

The Russians however were still in Poland, 
and were in the city of Warsaw, while the king 
whom Charles XII. had set over the Poles was 
hardly acknowledged by that nation. In the 
mean time, Charles wa.s enriching his army with 
the spoils of Saxony. 

Aug. 22.] At length he began his march from 
Altranstadt, at the head of an army of forty-five 
thousand men ; a force which it seemed impos- 
sible for the czar to withstand, seeing he had 
been entirely defeated by eight thousand only at 

Aug. 27.] It was in passing by the walls of 
Dresden, that Charles made that very extra- 
ordinary visit to king Augustus, which, as Nor- 
berg says, ' will strike posterity with admiration.' 
It was running an unaccountable risk, to put 
himself in the power of a prince whom he had 
deprived of his kingdom. From thence he con- 
tinued his march through Silesia, and re-entered 

This country has been entirely ravaged by war, 
ruined by factions, and was a prey to every kind 
of calamity. Charles continued advancing with 
his army through the province of Muscovia, and 
chose the most difficult ways he could take. The 
inhabitants, who had taken shelter in the mo- 
rasses, resolved to make him at least pay for bis 
passage Six thousand peasants dispatched an 
old man of their body lo speak to him : this man 
who was of a very extraordinary figure, clad in 
white, and armed with two carabines, made a 
speech to Charles ; but as the standers by did 
not well understand what he said, they, without 
any further ceremony, dispatched him in his 


harangue, and before their king's face. The pea- 
sants, in a rage, immediately withdrew, and took 
up arms. All who could be found were seized, 
and obliged to hang one another ; the last was 
compelled to put the rope about his neck himself, 
and tD be his own executioner. All their houses 
were burnt to the ground. This fact is attested 
by Norberg, who was an eye-witness, and there- 
fore cannot be contradicted, as it cannot be re- 
lated without inspiring horror. 

1708, Feb. 6.] Charles being arrived within a 
few leagues of Grodno in Lithuania, is inform- 
ed of the czar's being there in person with 
a body of troops ; upon which, without staying 
to deliberate, he takes only eight hundred of his 
guards, and sets out for Grodno. A German 
officer, named Mulfels, who commanded a body 
of troops, posted at one of the gates of the 
town, making no doubt, when he saw Charles, 
but that he was followed by his whole army, in- 
stead of disputing the passage with him, leaves 
it open, and takes to flight. The alarm is now 
spread through the whole town ; every one ima- 
gines the whole Swedish army already entered ; 
the few Russians who made any resistance, are 
cut in pieces by the Swedish guards ; and all the 
officers assure the czar, that the victorious array 
had made itself master of the place. Hereupon 
Peter retreats behind the ramparts, and Charles 
plants a guard of thirty men at the very gate 
through which the czar had just before entered. 

In this confusion some of the Jesuits, whose 
college had been taken to accommodate the king 
of Sweden, as being the handsomest structure 
in the place, went by night to the czar, and for 
this time told the whole truth. Upon this, Peter 
immediately returns into the town, and forces the 
Swedish guards. An engagement ensues in the 


streets and public places ; but, at length, the 
whole Swedish army appearing in sight, the czar 
is obliged to yield to superior numbers, and 
leaves the town in the hands of the victor, who 
made all Poland tremble. 

Charles had augmented his forces in Livonia 
and Finland, and Peter had every thing to fear, not 
only for his conquests on this side, together with 
those in Lithuania, but also for his ancient territo- 
ries, and even for the city of Moscow itself. He 
was obliged then to provide at once for the safety of 
all these different places, at such a distance from 
each other. Charles couid not make any rapid 
conquest to the eastward of Lithuania in the 
depth of winter, and in a marshy country, sub- 
ject to epidemical disorders, which had been 
spread by poverty and famine, from Warsaw, as 
farasMinski. Peter posted his troops so as to com- 
mand the passes of the rivers, (April 8.) guarded 
all the important posts, and did every thing in 
his power to impede the marches of his enemy, 
and afterwards has.tened to put things in a pro- 
per situation at Petersburg. 

Though Charles was lording it in Poland, he 
took nothing from the czar; but Peter, by the 
use he marie of liis new fleet, by landing his 
troops in Finland, by the taking and dismantling 
the town of Borgau, (May '^2.) and by seizings 
great booty, was ])rocuring many real and great 
advantages to himself, and distressing his enemy. 

Charles, after being detained a long time m 
Lithuania, by continual rains, at length reached 
the little river of 15erezine, some few leagues 
from the Boristheues. Nothing couid withstand 
his activity : he threw a bridge over the river in 
siglit of the l^ussians ; beat a detachment that 
guarded the passage, and got to lloloziii on the 
river Bibitsch, where tlie rzar Imd posceJ aeon- 


siderable body of troops to check the impetuous 
progress of his rival. The little river of Bibitsch 
is onlv a small brook in dry weather ; but at this 
time it was swelled by the rains to a deep and 
rapid scream. On the other side was a morass, 
behind which the Russians had thrown up an in- 
trenchment for above a quarter of a league, de- 
fended by a large and deep ditch, and covered 
by a parapet, lined with artillery. Nine regi- 
ments of horse, and eleven of foot, were advan- 
tageously posted in these lines, so that the pas- 
sage of the river seemed impracticable. 

The Swedes, according to the custom of war, 
got ready their pontoons, and erected batteries 
to favour their passage ; but Charles, whose im- 
patience to engage would not let him brook the 
least delay, did not wait till the pontoons were 
ready. ^Marshal Schweriu, who served a long 
time under him, has assured me several times, 
that one day that they were to come to action, ob- 
serving his generals to be very busv in concerting 
the necessary dispositions, said tartly to them, 
' When will you have done with this trifling V 
and immediately advanced in person at the head 
of his guards, which he did particularly on this 
memorable day. 

He flung himself into the river, followed by his 
regiment of guards. Their numbers broke the 
impetuosity of the current, but the water was as 
high as their shoulders, and they could make no 
use of their firelocks. Had the artillery of the 
parapet been but tolerably well served, or had 
the infantry h\it levelled their pieces in a proper 
manner, not a single Swede would have escaped. 

July 2.T.] The king, after wading the river, 
passed the morass on foot. As soon as the army 
had surmounted these obstacles within sight of 
the Russians, they drew up in order of battle, 


and attacked the enemies intrenchments seven 
different times, and it was not tilJ the seventh 
attack that the Ilussians gave way. By the 
accounts of their own historians, the Swedes took 
but twelve field-pieces, and twenty-four mortars. 
It was therefore evident, that the czar had at 
length succeeded in disciplining his troops, and 
this victory of Holozin, while it covered Charles 
XII. with glory, might have made him sensible 
of the many dangers he must have to encounter 
in adventurmg into such distant countries, where 
his army could march only in small bodies, 
through woods, morasses, and where he would 
be obliged to fight out every step of his way ; 
but the Swedes, being accustomed to carry all 
before them, dreaded neither danger nor fatigue* 


Charles XII. croBses the Boristhenes, penetratek into the 
Ukraioe, but concerts his measures badly. — One of his 
armies is defeated by Peter the Great ; he loses his 
supply of provisions and ammunition : advances for- 
ward through a desert country : his adventures iu the 

1708. A T last Charles arrives on the borders of 
the Boristhenes, at a small town call- 
ed Mohilow. 'I'his was the important spot where 
it was to be determined, whether he should di- 
rect his inarch eastward, towards Moscow ; or 
southwards, towards the Ukraine. His owif 
army, his friends, his enemies, all expected that 
he would direct his course immediately for the 

• What would those Swedes say, were they living, to 
se« the pitiful figure their descendants have made iu this 


capital of Russia. Which ever way he tool', 

Peter was following him from Smolensko with a 
strong army ; no one expected that he would turn 
towards the Ukraine. He was induceito take 
this strange resolution by Mazeppa, hetman of 
the Cossacks, who, being an old man of seventy 
and without children, ought to have thought only 
of ending his days in peace : gratitude should 
have bound him to the czar, to whom he was in- 
debted for his present dignity ; but whether he 
had any real cause of complaint against that 
prince, or that he was dazzled with the lustre of 
Charles's exploits, or whether, in time, he thought 
to make himself independent, he betrayed his 
benefactor, and privately espoused the interests 
of the king of Sweden, flattering himself with the 
hopes of engaging his whole nation in a rebellion 
with himself. 

Charles made not the least doubt of subduing 
the Russian empire, as soon as his troops should 
be joined by so warlike a people as the Cossacks. 
Mazeppa was to furnish him with what provi- 
sions, ammunition, and artillery, he should want ; 
besides these powerful succours, he was to be 
joined by an army of sixteen or seventeen thou- 
sand men, out of Livonia, under the command of 
general Levenhaupt, who was to bring with him 
a prodigious quantity of warlike stores and pro- 
visions. Charles was not at the trouble of re- 
flecting, whether the czar was within reach of 
attacking the army, and depriving him of these 
necessary supplies. He never informed himself 
whether Mazeppa was in a condition to observe 
his promises ; if that Cossack had credit enough 
to change the disposition of a whole nation, 
who are generally guided only by their own opi- 
nion ; or whether his army was provided with 
euificient resources in case of an accident ; but 


imagined, if Mazeppa should prove deficient in 
abilities or fidelity, be could trust in his own 
valour and good fortune. The Swedish army 
then advanced beyond the Boristhenes towards 
the Desna ; it was between these two rivers, 
that he expected to meet with Mazeppa. His 
march was attended with many difficulties and 
dangers, on account of the badness of the road, 
and the many parties of Russians that were 
hovering about these regions. 

Sept. 11.] MenzikoflF, at the head of some 
horse and foot, attacked the king's advanced 
guard, threw them into disorder, and killed a 
number of his men. He lost a great number of 
his own, indeed, but that did not discourage him. 
Charles immediately hastened to the field of 
battle, and with some difficulty repulsed the 
Russians, at the hazard of his own life, by en- 
gaging a party of dragoons, by whom he was 
surrounded. All this while Mazeppa did not ap- 
pear, and provisions began to grow scarce. The 
Swedish soldiers, seeing their king share in all 
their dangers, fatigues, and wants, were not dis- 
pirited ; but though they admired his courage, 
they could not refrain from murmuring at his 

The orders which the king had sent to Leven- 
haupt to march forward with all haste, to join 
him with the necessary supplies, were not deli- 
vered by twelve days so soon as they should have 
been. This was a long delay as circumstances 
then stood. However, Levenhauj)t at length 
began his march ; Peter suffered him to pass the 
Boristheoes, but as soon as his army was got 
between that river and the lesser ones, which 
empty themselves into it, he crossed over after 
him, and attacked him with his united forces, 
which had followed \n ditierent corps at equal 


distances from one another. This battle was 
fought between the Boristhenes and the Sossa.* 

Prince Menzikoflf was upon his return with the 
same body of horse, with which he had lately en- 
gaged Charles XII. General Baur followed him, 
and the czar himself headed the flower of his 
army. The Swedes imagined they had to deal 
■with an army of forty thousand men, and the 
same was believed for a long time on the faith 
of their relation ; but my late memoirs inform 
me, that Peter had only twenty thousand men in 
this day's engagement, a number net much su- 
perior to that of the enemy : but his vigour, his 
patience, his unwearied perseverance, together 
with that of his troops, animated by his presence, 
decided the fate, not of that day only, but of 
three successive days, daring which the fight was 
renewed at different times. 

They made their first attack upon the rear of 
the Swedish army, near the village of Lesnau, 
from whence this battle borrows its name. This 
first shock was bloody, without proving decisive. 
Levenhaupt retreated into a wood, and thereby 
saved his baggage. (Oct. 7.) The next morning, 
when the Swedes were to be driven from this 
wood, the fig't was still more bloody, and more 
to the advantage of the Russians. Here it was 
that the czar, seeing his troops in disorder, cried 
out to fire upon the runaways, and even upon 
himself, if they saw him turn back. The Swedes 
were repulsed, but not thrown into confusion. 

At length a reinforcement of four thousand 
dragoons arriving, he fell upon the Swedes a 
third time, who retreated to a small town called 
Prospock, where they were again attacked ; they 
then marched towards the Desna, the R'jssians 

• In the Russiaji language, Soeza. 


*till pursuing them : yet they were never broken, 
but lost upwards of eight thousand men, seven- 
teen pieces of cannon, and forty-four colours : 
the czar took fifty-six officers and near nine hun- 
dred private men prisoners ; and the great con- 
voy of provisions and ammunition that were 
going to Charles's army, fell into the hands of 
the conqueror. ^ 

This was the first time that the czar in person 
gained a pitched battle, agaiusr an enemy who 
had distinguished himself by so many victories 
over his troops : he was employed in a general 
thanksgiving for his success, when he received 
advice that general Apraxin had lately gained 
an advantage over the enemy in lugria, (Sept. 
17,) some leagues from Narva, an advantage 
less considerable indeed than that of Lesnau; 
but this concurrence of fortunate events greatly 
raised the hopes and courage of his troops. 

Charles XII. heard of these unfortunate tidings 
just as he was ready to pass the Desna, in the 
Ukraine. Mazeppa at length joined him ; but 
instead of twenty thousand men, and an im- 
mense quantity of provisions ; which he was to 
have brought with him, lie came with only two 
regiments, and appeared rather like a fugitive 
applying for assistance, than a prince, who was 
bringing powerful succours to his ally. This 
Cossack had indeed begun his march with near 
fifteen or sixteen thousand of his people, whom 
he had told, at their first setting out, that they 
were going against the king of Sweden ; that they 
would have the glory of stopping that hero on his 
march, and that be would hold himself eternally 
obliged to them for so great a service. 

But when they carne v/ithin a few leagues of the 
Desna, he made them acquainted with his real 
design. These brave people received his decia- 


ration with disdain : they refused to betray a 
monarch, against whom they had no cause of 
complaint, for the sake of a Swede, who had in- 
vaded their country with an armed force, and 
who, after leaving it, would be no longer able to 
defend them, but must abandon them to the 
mercy of the incensed Russians, and of the Poles, 
once their masters, and dhvays their enemies : 
they accordingly returned home, and gave advice 
to the czar of the defection of their chief : Ma- 
zeppa found himself left with only two regiments, 
the officers of which were in his own pay. 

He was still master of some strong posts in the 
Ukraine, and in particular of Bathurin, the place 
of his residence, looked upon as the capital of 
the country of the Cossacks : it is situated near 
some forests on the Desna, at a great distance 
from the place where Peter had defeated general 
Levenbaupt. There were always some Russian 
regiments quartered in these districts. Prince 
MenzikofF was detached from the czar's army, 
and got thither by round-about marches. Charles 
could not secure all the passes ; he did not even 
know them all, and had neglected to make him- 
self master of the important post of Starowdoub, 
which leads directly to the Bathurin, across seven 
or eight leagues of forest, through which the 
Desna directs its course. His enemy had always 
the advantage of him, by being better acquainted 
with the country. 

MenzikofF and prince Galitzin, who had ac- 
companied him, easily made their passage good, 
and presented themselves before the town of 
Bathurin, (Nov. 14,) which surrendered almost 
without resistance, was plundered, and reduced 
to ashes. The Russians made themselves mas- 
ters of a large magazine destined for the use of 
the king of Sweden, and of all Mazeppa's trea- 


sores. TTie Cossacks chose another hetraan, 
named Skoropasky, who was approved by the 
czar, who being willing to impress a due sense of 
the enormous crime of treason on the minds of 
the people, by a striking example of justice, the 
archbishop of Kiow, and two other prelates, 
were ordered to excommunicate Mazeppa pub- 
licly, (Nov. 22,) after which he was hanged in 
effigy, and some of his accomplices were broken 
upon the wheel. 

In the meanwhile, Charles XII. still at the 
head of about twenty-five or twenty- seven thou- 
sand Swedes, who were reinforced by the re- 
mains of Levenhaupt's army, and the addition 
of between two or three thousand men, whom 
Mazeppa had brought with him, and still infa- 
tuated with the same notion of making all the 
Ukraine declare for him, passed the Desna at 
some distance from Bathurin, and near the Bo- 
risthenes, in spite of the czar's troops which sur- 
rounded him on all sides; part of whom followed 
close in the rear, while another part lined the 
opposite side of the river to oppose his passage. 

He continued his march through a desert 
country, where he met with nothing but burned 
or ruined villages. The cold began to set in at 
the beginning of December so extremely sharp, 
that in one of Ins marches near two thousand of 
bis men perished before his eyes : the czar's 
troops did not suffer near so much, being better 
supplied ; whereas the king of Sweden's army, 
being almost naked, was necessarily' more ex- 
posed to the inclemency of the weather. 

In this deplorable situation, count Piper, 
chancellor of Sweden, who never gave his master 
other than good advice, conjured him to halt, and 
pass at least the severest part of the winter in a 
small town of the Ukraine, called Romna, where 


he might intrench himself, and get some provi- 
sions by the help of Mazeppa ; but Charles re- 
plied, tiiat — He was not a person to shut him- 
self up in a town. Piper then intreated him to 
re-pass the Desna and the Boristhenes, to return 
back into Poland, to put his trooj'S into winter 
quarters, of which they stood so much in need, 
to make use of the Polish cavalry, which was 
absolutely necessary; to support the king he had 
nominated, and to keep in awe the partisans of 
Augustus, who began already to bestir them- 
selves. Charles answered him again — That this 
would be living before the czar, that the season 
would grow milder, and that he must reduce the 
Ukraine, and march on to Moscow. * 

January, 1709.] Both armies remained some 
weeks inactive, on account of the intenseness of 
the cold, in the month of January, 1709; but as- 
soon as the men were able to make use of their 
arms, Charh s attacked all the small posts that he 
found in his way ; he was obliged to send parties 
on every side in search of provisions : thra is to 
say. to scour the country twenty leagues round, 
and rob all the peasants of their necessary sub- 
sistence. Peter, without hurrying himself, kept 
a strict eye upon all his motions, and suffered 
the Swedish army to dwindle away by degrees. 

It is impossible for the reader to follow the 
Swedes in their march through these countries : 
several of the rivers which they crossed are not 
to be found in the maps : we must not suppose, 
that geographers are as well acquainted with 
these countries, as we are with Italy, France, and 
Germany : geography is, of all the arts, that 
which still stands the most need of improvement . 
and ambition has hitherto been at more pains to 

• This is acknowledged by Norberg himself, 
vol. ii. p. 263. 


desolate the face of the globe, than to give a do- 
scription of it. 

We must content ourselves then wiih knowing, 
that Charles traversed the whole Ukraine in the 
month of February, burning the villages wherever 
he came, or meeting with others that had been 
laid in ashes by the Russians. He advancing 
south-east, came to those sandy deserts, bordered 
by mountains that separate the Nogay Tartars 
from the Don Cossacks. To the eastward of 
those mountains are the altars of Alexander. 
Charles was now on the other side of the Ukraine, 
in the road that the Tartars take tc Russia ; and 
when he was got there, he was obliged to return 
back again to procure subsistence : the inhabi- 
tants, having retired with all their cattle into 
their dens and lurking-places, would sometimes 
defend their subsistence against the soldiers, who 
came to deprive them of it. Such of these poor 
wretches, who could be found, were put to death, 
agreeably to what are falsely called, the rules of 
war. I cannot here forbear transcribing a few 
lines from Norberg.* ' As an instance,' says he, 
• of the king's regard to justice, I shall insert a 
note, which he wrote with his own hand to colonel 

* Colonel, 
• I am very well pleased that you have taken 
those peasants, who carried off a Swedish soldier; 
as soon as they are convicted of the crime, let 
them be punished with death, according to the 
exigency of the case. 

' Charles; and lower down, Budis.' 

Such are the sentiments of justice and hu- 
manity shewn by a king's confepsor ; but, had the 
peasants of the Ukraine had it in their power to 

• VoL 1 1 . page '^79- 


hang up some of those regimented peasants of 
East Gothland, who thought themselves entitled 
to come so far to plunder them, their wives, and 
families, of their subsistence, would not the con- 
fessors and cliaplains of these Ukrainers have 
had equal reason to applaud their justice ^ 

Mazeppa had for a considerable time, been in 
treaty with the Zaporavians, who dwell about the 
two shores of the Boristhenes, and of whom part 
inhabit the islands on that river. It is this di- 
vision that forms the nation, of whom mention 
has already been made in the first chapter of this 
history, and who have neither wives nor families, 
and subsist entirely by rapine. During the winter 
they heap up provisions in their islands, which 
they afterwards go and sell in the summer, in the 
lif.tle town of Pultowa ; the rest dwell in small 
hamlets, to the right and left of this river. AH 
together choose a particular hetman, and this het- 
man is subordinate to him of the Ukraine. I'he 
person , at that time at the head of the Zaporavians, 
came to meet Mazeppa ; and these two barbarians 
had an interview, at which each of them had 
A horse's tail, and a club borne before him, as 
ensigns of honour. 

To shew what this hetman of the Zaporavians 
and his people were, I think it not unworthy of 
history, to relate the manner in which this treaty 
was concluded. Mazeppa gave a great feast to 
the hetman of the Zaporavians, and his principal 
officers, who were all served in plate. As soon 
as these chiefs had made themselves drunk with 
brandy, tbey took an oath (without stirring from 
table) upon the Evangelists, to supply Charles 
with men and provisions ; after which they 
.-arried off all the plate and other table-furniture. 
Mazeppa's steward ran after them, and remon- 
strated, that such behaviour ill-suited with the 


doctrine of the Gospels, on which they had so 
lately sworn. Some of Mazeppa's domestics 
were for taking the plate away from them by 
force ; but the Zaporavians went in a body to 
romplain to 3Iazeppa, of the unparalleled aflfront 
offered to &uch brave fellows, and demanded to 
have the steward delivered up to them, that they 
might punish him according to law. This was 
accordingly complied with, and the Zaporavians, 
according to law, tossed this poor man from one 
to another like a ball, and afterwards plunged 
a knife to his heart. 

Such were the new allies that Charles XII. 
was obliged to receive ; part of whom he formed 
into a regiment of two thousand men ; the re- 
mainder marched in separate bodies against the 
Cossacks and Calmucks of the czar*s party, that 
were stationed about that district. 

The little town of Pultowa, with which those 
Zaporavians carry on a trade, was filled with 
provisions, and might have served Charles for a 
place of arms. It is situated on the river Worsk- 
law, near a chain of mountains, wuich command 
it on the north side. To the eastward is a vast 
desert. The western part is the most fruitful , and 
the best peopled. The Worsklaw empties itself 
into the Bonsthenes, about fifteen leagues lower 
down ; from Pultowa, one may go northward, 
through the defiles, which communicate with the 
road to Moscow, a pa.ssage used by the Tartars. 
It is very difficult of access, and the precautions 
taken by the czar had rendered it almost im- 
pervious ; but nothing appeared impossible to 
Charles, and he depended upon marching to 
Moscow, as soon as he had made hmself master 
of Pultowa : with this view he laid siege to that 
town in the beginning of May. 




Battle of Pultowa. 


[ERE it was that Peter expected him ; he had 
disposed the several divisions of his army 
at convenient distances for joining each other, 
and marching all together against the hesiegers: 
he had visited the countries which surround the 
I'kraine ; namely the duchy of Severia, watered 
by the P'esna, aheady made famous by his vic- 
tory : the country ol Bolcho, in which the Occa 
has its source ; the deserts and mountains leading 
to the Palus Maeotis ; and lately he had been in 
the neighbourhood of Azoph, where he caused 
that harbour to be cleansed, new ships to be built, 
and the citadel of Taganroc to be repaired. Thus 
did he employ the time tha' passed between the 
battles of Lesnau and Pultowa, in preparing for 
the defence of his dominions. As soon as he 
heard the Swedes had laid siege to the town, he 
^:uslered all his forces ; the horse, dragoons, in- 
fantry, Cossacks, and Calmucks, advanced from 
diflferent quarters. His army was well provided 
with necessaries of every kind ; large cannon, 
iield pieces, ammunition of all sorts, provisions, 
and even medicines for the sick : this was another 
degree of superiority which he had acquired over 
his rival. 

On the loth day of June, 1709, he appeared 
before Pultowa, with an army of about sixty 
thousand effective men ; the river Worsklaw 
was between him and Charles. The besiegers 
vvfie encamped on the uorth-weet side of thai 
r!v< r, iIr- Russians on the south-east. 

Peter ascends the river above the town, fixes 
Ins barges, marches over with his army, and 
draws a long line of intreachments, (July 3.) 


which were begun and completed in one night, 
in the face of the enemy. Charles might tben 
judge, whether the person, whom he had so 
much despised, and whom he thought of de- 
throning at Moscow, understood the art of war. 
"This disposition being made, Pe'er posted his 
cavalry between two woods, and covered it with 
several redoubts, lined with artillery. Having 
thus taken all the necessary measures, (July 6.) 
he went to reconnoitre the enemy's camp, in 
order to form the attack. 

This battle was to decide the fate of Russia, 
Poland, and Sweden, and of two monarchs, on 
whom the eyes of all Europe were fixed. The 
greatest part of those nations, who were atten- 
tive to these important concerns, were equally 
ignorant of the place where these two princes 
where, and of their situation : but knowing that 
Charles XII. had set out from Saxony, at the 
head of a victorious army, and that he was 
driving his enemy everywhere before him, they 
no longer doubted that he would at length en- 
tirely crush him ; and that, as he had already 
given laws to Denmark, Poland, and Germany, 
he would now dictate conditions of peace in the 
Kremlin of Moscow, and make anew czar, after 
having already made anew king of Poland. I 
have seen letters from several public; ministers 
to their respective courts, confirming this general 

The risk was far from being equal between 
these two great rivals, if Charh s lost a life, 
which he had so often and wantonly exposed, 
theri" would after all have been but one hero less 
in the world. The provinces of the Ukraine, 
the frontiers of Lithuania, and of Russia, would 
tht^n rest from their calamities, and a stop would 
be put to the general devastation which had eo 


long been their scourge. Poland would, to- 
gether with her tranquillity, recover her lawful 
prince, who had been lately reconciled to the 
czar, his benefactor ; and Sweden, though ex- 
hausted of men and money, might find motives 
of consolation under her heavy losses. 

But, if the czar perished, those immense 
labours, which had been of such utility to man- 
kind, would be buried with him, and the most 
extensive empire ic the world would again re- 
lapse into the chaos from whence it had been so 
lately taken. 

There had already been some skirmishes be- 
tween the detached parties of the Swedes and 
Russians, under the walls of the town. In one 
of these rencounters, (June 27.) Charles had been 
wounded by a musket-ball, which had shattered 
the bones of his foot : he underwent several 
painful operations, which he bore with his usual 
fortitude, and had been confined to his bed for 
several days. In this condition he was in- 
formed, that Peter intended to give him battle ; 
his notions of honour would not suflPer him to 
wait to be attacked in his intrenchments. Ac- 
cordingly he gave orders for quitting them, and 
was carried himself in a litter. Peter the Great 
acknowledges, that the Swedes attacked the 
redoubts, lined with artillery, that covered his 
cavalry, with such obstinate valour, that, not- 
withstanding the strongest resistance, supported 
by a continual fire, the enemy made themselves 
masters of two redoubts. Some writers say, 
that when the Swedish infantry found them- 
selves in possession of the two redoubts, they 
thought the day their own, and began to cry 
out — Victory. The chaplain, Norberg, who was 
at some great distance from the field of battle, 
amongst the baggage (which wai indeed his 


propel place) pretends, that this was a calumny ; 
but, whether the Swedes cried victory or n»t, it 
is certain they were not victorious. The fire 
from the other redoubts was kept up without 
censing, and the resistance made bv the Russians, 
in every part, was as firm as the attack of their 
enemies was vigorous. They did not make one 
irregular movement ; the czar drew up his army 
without the intrenchraents in excellent order, 
and with surprising dispatch. 

The battle now became general. Peter acted 
as major-general ; Baur commanded the right 
wing, Menzikolf the left, and iSheremeto the 
centre. The action lasted about two hours : 
Charles, with a pistol in his hand, went from 
rank to rank, carried in a litter, on the shoulders 
of his drabans ; one of which was killed by a 
cannun-ball, and at the same time the litter was 
shattered in pieces. He then ordered his men 
to carry him upon their pikes ; for it would 
have been difficult, in so smart an action, let 
Norberg say as he pleases, to find a fresh litter 
ready made. Peter received several shots 
through his clothes and his hat ; both princes 
were continually in the midst of the fire, during 
the whole action. At length, after two hours 
desperate engagement, the Swedes were taken 
on all sides, and fell into confusion ; so that 
Charles was obliged to fly before him, whom 
he had hitherto held in so much contempt. 
This very hero, who could not mount his saddle 
during the battle, now fled for his life on horse- 
hack ; necessity lent bini strength in his retreat; 
he suffered the most excruciating pain, which 
was increased by the mortifying reflection of 
being vai;quisli{d without resource. The Rus- 
sian^i reckoned nine thousand two hundred and 
t^^'ent}'-four Swedes left dead on the field ot 


battle, and between two and three thousand 
made prisoners in the action, the chief of which 
was cavalry. 

Charles XII. fled with the greatest precipita- 
tion, attended by the remains of his brave army, 
a few field-pieces, and a very small quantity of 
provisions and ammunition. He directed his 
march southward, towards the Boristhenes, be- 
tween the two rivers Workslaw and Psol. or 
Sol, in the country of the Zaporaviaus. Be- 
yond the Boristhenes, are vast deserts, which 
lead to the frontiers of Turkey. Norberg affirms, 
that the victors durst not pursue Charles ; and 
yet be acknowledges, that prince Menzikoff 
appeared on the neighbouring heights, (.'ulv 12.) 
with ten thousand horse, and a considerable 
train of artillery, while the king was passing 
the Boristhenes. 

Fourteen thousand Swedes surrendered them- 
selves prisoners of war to these ten thousand 
Russians ; and Levenhaupt, who commanded 
them, signed the fatal capitulation, by which he 
gave up those Zoporavians who had engaged in 
the service of his master, and were then in the 
fugitive army. The chief persons taken pri- 
soners in the battle, and by the capitulation, 
were count Piper, the first minister, with two 
secretaries of state, and two of the cabinet; 
field marshal Renschild, the generals Leren- 
haupt, Slipenbak, Rozen, Stakelber, Creuiz, 
and Hamilton, with three general aides-de- 
camp, the auditor-general of the army, fifty- 
nine staff-officers, five colonels, among whom 
was the prince of Wirtemberg ; sixteen thou- 
sand nine hundred and forty-two private men 
and non-commissioned officers : in short, reck, 
oning the king's own domestics, and others, the 
conqueror had no less than eiglUeen thousand 


teven hundred and forty-six prisoners in his 
power; to whom, if we add nine thousand 
two hundred and twenty-four slain in battle, and 
nearly two thousand that passed the Boristhenes 
with Charles, it appears, plainly, that he had, on 
that memorable day, no less than twenty-seven 
thousand eflfective men under his command.* 

Charles had begun his march from Saxony with 
forty-five thousand men, Levenhaupl had brought 
upwards of sixteen thousand out of Livonia, and 
yet scarce a handful of men was left of all this 
powerful army ; of a numerous train of artillery, 
part lost in his marches, and part buried in the 
morasses; he had now remaining only eighteen 
brass cannon, two howitzers, and twelve mor- 
tars; and, with inconsiderable force, he had un- 
dertaken the siege of Pultowa, and had attacked 
an arni}^ provided with a formidable artillery. 
Therefore he is, with justice, accused of having 
shewn more courage than prudence, after his leav- 
ing Germany. On the side of the Russians, 
there were no more than fifty-two officers and one 
thousand two hundred and ninety- three private 
men killed ; an undeniable proof, that the dispo- 
sition of the Russian troops was better than those 
of Charles, and that their fire was infinitely su- 
perior to that of the Swedes. 

We find, in the memoirs of a foreign ministei 
to the court of Russia, that Peter, being informed 
of Charles's design to take refuge in lurkey, 
wrote a friendly letter to him, iiitreating him not 
to take so desperate a resolution, but rather to 

• The Memoirs of Ptter llie Great, by the pretended 
boyard I wan Nestesuranoj-, printed at Amsterdano, in 
17S0, eay, that the king of Sweden, before lie passed the 
Boristhenes, sent a general officer with proposals of 
peace to the ciar. Tl-.e four volumes of these MemoiJi 
are either a collection of untruths and absurdities, or 
uijmpilationfi from common newspapers. 


trust himself in his hands, than in those of the 
natural enemy of all Christian princes. Me gave 
him, at the same time, his word of honour, not 
to detain him prisoner, but to terminate ali their 
diflferences by a reasonable peace. This letter 
was sent b} an express as far as the river Bug, 
which separates the deserts of the Ukraine from 
the grand seignior's dominions. As the messenger 
did not reach that place till Charles had entered 
Turkey, he brought back the letter to his master. 
The same minister adds further, that he had this 
account from the very person who was charged 
with the letter.* This anecdote is not altogether 
improbable ; but I do not meet with it either in 
Peter's journals, or in any of the papers entrusted 
to my care. What is of greater importance, in 
relation to this battle, was its being the only 
one, of the many that have stained the earth 
with blood, that, instead of producing only de- 
struction, has proved beneficial to mankind, by 
enabling the czar to civilize so considerable a 
part of the world. 

There have been fought more than two hun- 
dred pitched battles in Europe, since the com- 
mencement of this century to the present year. 
The most signal, and the most bloody victories, 
have produced no other consequences than the 
reduction of a few provinces ceded afterwards 
by treaties, and retaken again by other battles. 
Armies of a hundred thousand men have fre- 
quently engaged each other in the field ; but the 
greatest efforts have been attended with only 
slight and momentary successes ; the most trivial 
causes have been productive of the greatest ef- 
fects. There is no instance, in modern historyj 
of any war that has compensated, by even a 

• This fact is likewise found in a. letter, primed 
bftforethe Anecdotes of R'a3sia> p. 23- 


better good, for the many evils it has occHsioned: 
but, from the battle of Pultowa, the greatest em- 
pire under the sun has derived its present happi- 
ness and prosperity. 


Consequences of the battle of Pultowa. — Charles Xll. 
takes refuge among the Turks. — Augustus, whom he 
had dethroned, recovers his dominions. — Conquests of 
Peter the Great. 

1709. 'T'HE chief prisoners of rank were now 
presented to the conqueror, who 
ordered their swords to be returned, and invited 
them to dinner. It is a well known fact, that, 
on drinking to the officers, he said, ' 'I'o the 
health of my masters in the art of war.' How- 
ever, most of his masters, particularly the subal- 
tern officers, and all the private men, were soorj 
afterwards sent into Siberia. 'Ihere was no car- 
tel established here for exchange of prisoners be- 
tween the Russians and Swedes ; the czar, in- 
deed, had proposed one before the siege of Pul- 
towa, but Charles rejected the offer, and his 
troops were in every thing the victims of his in- 
flexible pride. 

It was this unseasonable obstinacy that occa- 
sioned all the misfortunes of this prince in Tur- 
key, and a series of adventures, more becoming 
a hero of romance than a wise or prudent king ; 
for, as soon as he arrived at Bender, he was ad- 
vised to write to the grand-vizier, as is the custom 
among the Turks ; but this ho thought would be 
demeaning himself too far. The like obstinacy 
embroiled him with all the ministers of the Porte, 
>ne after another, in short, he knew not bov 
H 2 


to accommoaate himself either to times or cir- 

The first news of the battle of Pultowa pro- 
duced a general revolution in minds and affairs 
in Poland, Saxony, Sweden, and Silesia. Charles,' 
while all powerful in those parts, had obliged 
the emperor Joseph to take a hundred and five 
churches from the catholics in favour of the Sile- 
siaus of the confession of Augsburg. The ca- 
tholics then no sooner received news of the de- 
feat of Charles, than they repossessed themselves 
of all the Lutheran temples. The Saxons now 
thought of nothing but being revenged for the 
extortions of a conqueror, who had robbed them, 
according to their own account, of twenty-three 
millions of crowns. 

The king of Poland, their elector, immediately 
protested against the abdication that had been 
extorted from him, and being now reconciled to 
the czar (Aug. 3.), he left no stone unturned to 
reascend the Polish throne. Sweden, overwhelm- 
ed with consternation, thought her king for a 
long time dead, and in this uncertainty the se- 
nate knew not what to resolve. 

Peter in the mean lime determined to make 
the best use of his victory, and therefore dis- 
patched marshal Sberemeto with an army into 
Livonia, on the frontiers of which province that 
general had so often distinguished himself. 
Prince Menzikoff was sent in haste with a nume- 
rous bivdy of cavalry to second the few troops left 
in Poland, to encourage the nobles who were in 

• La Motraye, in the relation of his travels, quotes 
a letter froai Charles XIT. to the grand vizier; but this 
letter is false, as are most of the relations of that mer- 
cenary writer ; and Norberg himself acknowledges that 
the king of Sweden never could be prevailed on lo writa 
to the grand vizier. 


the intferest of Augustus to drive out his competi- 
tor, who was now consiklered in no better light 
than a rebel, and to disperse a body of Sw^edes 
and troojts that were still left in that kingdom 
under the command of general Crassau. 

The czar soon after sets out in person, marches 
through the province of Kiow, and the palatinates 
of Chelm and Upper Volhinia, and at length ar- 
rives at Lublin, where he concerts measures with 
the general of Lithuania. He then reviews the 
crown troops, who all take the oath of allegiance 
to king Augustus, from thence he proceeds to 
Warsaw, and at Thera enjoyed the most glorious 
of all triumphs (Sept. 18.), that of receiving the 
thanks of a king, whom he had rei'istated in his 
dominions. There it was that i^ concluded a 
treaty against Sweden, with the kings of Den- 
mark, Poland, and Prussia (Oct. 7.): in which 
he was resolved to recover from Charles all the 
conquests of Gustavus Adolphus. Peter revived 
the ancient pretensions of the czars to Livonia, 
Ingria, Carelia, and part of Finland ; Denmark 
laid claim to Scania, and the king of Prussia to 

Ihus had I'harles XIL by his unsuccessful va- 
lour, shook the noble edifice that had been erected 
by the ])rosporous bravery of his ancestor Gusta- 
vus Adolphus. The Polish nobility came in on 
all sides to renew their oatis to their kmg, or to 
a«k pardon for having deserted him ; and almost 
the whole kingdom acknowledged Peter for its 

To the victorious arms of the czar, to these new 
treaties, and to this sudden revolution, Stanislau* 
had nothing to oppose but a voluntary resigna- 
tion : he published a writing called Universale, 
in which he declares himself ready to resign thfl 
crown, if the republi : required it. 

laa HISTORY of 

peter, having concerted all the necessary mea- 
sures with the king of Poland, and ratified the 
treaty with Denmark, set out directly to finish his 
negotiation with the king of Prussia. It was not 
then usual for sovereign princes to perform the 
function of their own ambassadors Peter was 
the first who introduced this custom, which has 
been followed by very few. The elector of Bran- 
denburg, the first king of Prussia, had a con- 
ference with the czar at ]Marienverder, a small 
town situated in the western part of Pomerania, 
and built by the old Teutonic knights, and in- 
cluded in the limits of Prussia, lately erected 
into a kingdom. This country indeed was poor, 
and of a small extent ; but its new king, when- 
ever he travelled, displayed the utmost magni- 
ficence ; xvith great splendour he had received 
czar Peter at his first passing through his domi- 
nions, when that prince quitted kis empire to go 
in search of instruction among strangers. But 
he received the conqueror of Charles XII. in 
a still more pompous manner. (Oct. 20.) Peter 
for this time concluded only b. defensive treaty 
with him which afterwards, however, comDleted 
tlie rum of Sweden. 

Not an instant of time was lost. Peter, ns^ 
ing proceeded with the greatest dispatch in his 
negotiations, which elsewhere are wont to take 
up so much time, goes and joins his army, then 
before Riga, the capital of Livonia ; he began by 
bombarding the place (Nov. 21.), and fired off 
the three first bombs himself ; then changed the 
siege into a blockade ; and, when well assured 
that Riga could not escape him, he repaired to 
his city of Petersburg, to inspect and forward the 
works carrying on there, the new buildings, 
and finishing of his lieet ; and having laid the 
keel of a ship of fifty-four guns, (Dec. ?.) vvith 


Lis own hands, he returned to Moscow. Here 
he amused himself with assisting in the prepa- 
rations for the triumphal entry, which he ex- 
hibited in the capital. He directed everj thing 
relating to that festival, and was himself the 
principal contriver and architect. 

He opened the year 1710 with this solemnity, 
60 necessary to his subjects, whom it inspired 
with notions of grandeur, and was highly pleas- 
ing to every one who had been fearful of seeing 
those enter their walls as conquerors, over whom 
they now triumphed. Seven magnificent arches 
were erected, under which passed in triumph, 
the artillery, standards, and colours, taken from 
the enemy, with their officers, generals, and mi- 
nisters, who had been taken prisoners, all on foot, 
amidst the ringing of bells, the sound of trum- 
pets, the discharge ofahundred pieces of cannon, 
and the acclamations of an innumerable concourse 
of people, whor-e voices rent the air as soon as 
the cannon ceased firing. The procession was 
closed by the victorious army, with the generals 
at its head; and Peter, who marched in his 
rank of major-general. At each triumphal arch 
stood the deputies of the several orders of the 
state ; and at the last was a chosen band of 
young gentlemen, the sons of boyards, clad in 
Roman habits, who presented a crown of laurels 
to their victorious monarch. 

This public festival was followed by another 
ceremony, which proved no less satisfactory than 
the former. In the year 1708 happened an ac- 
cident the more disagreeable to Peter, as his arms 
were at that time unsuccessful. .Mattheof, his 
ambassador to the court of London, having had 
hisaudience of leave of queen Anne, was arrested 
for il( l)t, at the mit of some English merchanta, 
anl carried before a justice of jeace to give bo- 


curity for the monies he owed there. The mer- 
chants insisted that the laws of commerce Ought 
to prevail before the privileges of foreign minie- 
ters ; the czar's ambassador, and with him all the 
public ministers, protested against this proceed 
ing, alleging, that their persons ought to be al- 
ways inviolable. The czar wrote to queen Anne, 
demanding satisfaction for the insult offered him 
in the person of his ambassador. 

But the queen had it not in her power to gratify 
him ; because, by the laws of England, trades- 
men were allowed to prosecute their debtors, and 
there was no law that excepted public ministers 
from such prosecution. The* murder of Patkul, 

• The czar, says the preface to lord Whitworth's ac- 
count of Prussia, who had been absolute enough to civilize 
savages, had no idea, could conceive none, of the privileges 
of a nation civilized ia the only rational manner bj-lawg 
and liberties. He demanded immediate and severe pu- 
nishment of the offenders : he demanded it of a priuci-ss, 
whom he thought interested, to assert the sacredness 
of the persons of monarchs, even in their representatives ; 
and he demanded it with threats of wreaking his ven- 
geance on all English merchants and subjects established 
in his dominioas. In this light the menaces were formi- 
dable ; otherwise, happily, the rights of the whole people 
were more sacred here than the persons of foreign minis- 
ters. The czar's memorials urged the queen with the 
satisfaction which she herself had extorted, when only 
the boat and servants of the earl of Manchester had been 
insulted at Venice. That state had broken through the 
fundamental laws, to content the queen of Great Britain. 
How noble a picture of government, when a monarch, that 
can force another nation to infringe its constitution, dar« 
not violate his own r One may imagine with what diffi- 
culty our secretaries of state must have laboured through 
all the ambages of phrase in English, French. German, and 
Kuss, to explain to Muscovite ears and Muscovite under- 
standings, the meaning of indictments, pleadings, preoe- 
dfiQis, -uries, and verdicts; and how impatiently Peter ina« 


the czar's ambassador, who had been executed 
the year before by the order of Charles XII. had 
encouraged the English to shew so little regard to 
a character which had been so cruelly profaned. 
The other public ministers who were then at the 
court of Loudon, were obliged to be bound for 
the czar's ambassador; and at length all the 
queen could do in his favour, was to prevail on 
her parliament to pass an act, by which no one 
for the future could arrest an ambassador for 
debt ; but after the battle of Pultowa, the Eng- 
lish court thought proper to give satisfaction to 
the czar. 

The queen made by a formal embassy an ex- 

have listened to promises of a hearing next term ? With 
what astonishment must he have beheld a p;reat queen, en- 
gaging to endeavour to prevail on her parliament to pass 
an act to prevent any such outrage for the future ? What 
honour does it not reflect on the memory of that princess 
to own to an arbitrary emperor, that even to appease him 
«he dare not put the meanest of her subjects to death un- 
oondemned bj' law ! — There are, says she, in one of her 
dispatches to him, insuperable difficulties, with respect 
to the ancient and fundamental laws of the government 
of our people ; which we fear do not permit so severe 
and rigorous a sentence to be given, as your imperial 
majesty at first seemed to expect in this case ; and we 
persuade ourself, that j'our imperial majesty, who are a 
prince famous for clemency and exact justice, will not 
require us, who are the guardian and protectress of the 
laws, to inflict a punishment upon our subjects, which 
the law does not impower us to do. Words so venerable 
and heroic, that this broil ouf^ht to become liistor)-, and 
h« exempted from the oblivion due to the silly s-quabblea 
of ambassadors and their privileges. If Anne deserved 
praise for her conduct on this occasion, it reflects still 
greater glory on Peter, that thil fcocious man should 
listen to these details, and had moderation and juati'-e 
CQOQgh to be persuaded by the reason of them. 


case for what had passed. IMr. Whitwonh,* th* 
person charged with this coiiimissio.i, began bis 
harangue with the following words. — (Feb. 16.) 
' Most high and mighty emperor." He told the 
czar that the person who had presumed to arrest 
his ambassador, had been imprisoned and ren- 
dered infamous. There was no truth in all this, 
but it was sufficient that he said so, and the title 
of emperor, which the queen had not given Peter 
before the battle of Pultowa, shewed the con- 
sideration he had now acquired in Europe. 

This title had been already granted him in 
Holland, not only by those who had been his 
fellow-workmen in the dock-yards at Saardam, 
and seemed to interest themselves most in his 
glory, but likewise by the principal persons in 
the slate, who unanimously styled him emperor, 
and made public rejoicings for his victory, even 
m the presence of the Swedish minister. 

The universal reputation which he had acquired 
by his victory of Pultowa, was still further in- 
creased by his not suffering a moment to pass 
without making some advantages of it. In the 
first place, he laid siege to Elbing, a Hans town 
of Regal Prussia in Poland, where the Swedes 
had still a garrison. The Russians scaled the 
walls, entered the town, and the garrison surren- 
dered prisoners of war. (Mar. 11.) This was one 
of the largest magazines belonging to Charles 
XII. The conquerors found therein one hundred 
and eighty-three brass cannon, and one hundred 
and fifty-seven mortars. Immediately after the 
reduction of Elbing, Peter re-marched from Mos- 
cow to Petersburg (April 2.) ; as soon as he ar- 
rived at this latter place, he took shij.pinsf under 
his new fortress of Cronslot, coasted along the 

♦ Afterwnrds created lord Wlutworth. by kia^ George I 


shore of Carelia, and notwithstanding a violent 
storm, brought his fleet safely before VViburg, 
the capital of Carelia in Finland ; while his land- 
forces advanced over the frozen morasses, and in 
a short time the capital of Livonia beheld itself 
closely blockaded (June 23.) : and after a breacn 
was made in the walls, Wiburg surrendered, 
and the garrison, consisting of four thousand 
men, capitulated, but did not receive the honours 
of war, being made prisoners notwithstanding 
the capitulation. Peter charged the enemy with 
several infractions of this kind, and promised to 
set these troops at liberty, as soon as he should 
receive satisfaction from the Swedes, for his com- 
plaints. On this occasion the king of Sweden was 
to be consulted, who continued as inflexible as 
ever; and those soldiers, whom, by a little con- 
cession, he might have delivered from their con- 
finement, remained in captivity. Thus did king 
William 111. in 169.T, arrest marshal Boufflers, 
notwithstanding the capitulation of Namur. There 
have been several instances of such violations of 
treaties, but it is to be wished there never had 
been any. 

After the taking of this capital, the blockade 
of Riga was soon changed into a regular siege, 
and pushed with vigour. 'Ihey were obliged to 
break the ice on the river Dwina, which waters 
the walls of the city. An epidemical disorder, 
which had raged some time in those parts, now 
got amongst the besiegeis, and carried off nine 
thousand ; nevertheless, the siege was not in the 
least slackened ; it lasted a considerable time, 
but at length the garrison capitulated i^ July 15. ) ; 
and were allowed the honours of war ; but it was 
stipulated by the capitulation, that all the hivo- 
nian officers and soldiers should enter into the 
Russian service, as natives of a country that had 


been dismembered from that ernpire, and usurp- 
ed by the ancestors of Charles XIL But the Li- 
Tonians were restored to the privileges of which 
his lather had stripped them, and all the officers 
entered into the czar's service : this was the 
most nobl^e satisfaction that Peter could take for 
the n\urder of his ambassador, Patkul, a Livo- 
nian, who had been put to death, for defending 
those privileges. The garrison consisted of near 
five thousand men. A short time afterwards the 
citadel of Pennamund was taken, and the be- 
siegers found in the town and fort above eight 
hundred pieces of artillery of different kinds. 

Nothing was now wanting, to make Peter en- 
tirely master of the province of Carelia, but the 
possession of the strong town of Kexholm, built 
on an island in the lake of Ladoga, and deemed 
impregnable ; it was bombarded soon after, and 
surrendered in ashort time. (Sep. 19.) The island 
of Oesel in the sea, bordering upon the north of 
Livonia, was subdued with the same rapidity. 
(Sep. 23.) 

On the side of Esthonia, a province of Livonia, 
towards the north, and on the gulf of Finland, 
are the towns of Pernau and Revel : by the re- 
duction of these Peter completed the conquest of 
all Livonia. Pernau surrendered after a siege of 
a few days (Aug. '.\'>.), and Revel capitulated 
(Sep. 10.) without waiting to have a single can- 
non fired against it ; but the besieged found means 
to escape out of the hands of the conquerors, at 
the very time that they were surrendering them- 
selves prisoners of war : for some Swedish ships, 
having anchored in the road, under favour of the 
eight, the garrison and most of the citizens em- 
barked on board, and when the besiegers entered 
the town, they were surprised to find it deserted. 
When Charles XIL gained the victory of Narva 


tittle did he expect that his troops would one 
day be driven to use such artifices. 

In Poland, Stanislaus finding his party entirely 
ruined, had taken refuge in Pomerania, which 
etill belonged to Charles XII. Augustus resumed 
the government, and it was difficult to decide who 
had acquired most glory, Charles in dethroning 
him. or Peter in restoring him to his crown. 

The subjects of the king of Sweden were still 
more unfortunate than that monarch himself. The 
contagious distemper, which had made such ha- 
vock over Livonia, passed from thence into Swe- 
den, where, in the city of Stockholm, it carried 
off thirty thousand persons : it likewise desolated 
the provinces, already thinned of their inhabit- 
ants ; for during the space of ten years succes- 
sively, most of the able-bodied men had quitted 
their country to follow their master, and perished 
*in foreign climes. 

Charles's ill fortune pursued him also in Pome- 
rania : his army had retired thither from Poland, 
to the number of eleven thousand ; the czar, the 
kings of Denmark and Prussia, the elector of Han- 
over, and the duke of Holstein, joined together 
to render this army useless, and to compel gene- 
ral Crassau, who commanded it, to submit to 
neutrality. The regency of Stockholm, hearing no 
news of their king, and distracted by the morta- 
lity that raged in that city, were glad to sign this 
neutrality, which seemed to deliver one of its 
provinces at least from the horrors of war. The 
emperor of Germany favoured this extraordinary 
convention, by which it was stipulated, that the 
Swedish army then in Pomerania should not march 
from thence to assist their monarch in any other 
part of the world ; nay, it was furthermore re- 
solved in the German empire, to raise an army 
Ut enforce the execution of this unparalleled con* 


vention. The reason of this was, that the empe- 
ror of Germany, who was then at war with France, 
was in hopes to engage the Swedish army to enter 
into his service. This whole negotiation was 
carried on while Peter was subduing Livonia, 
Esthonia, and Carelia. 

Charles XII. who was all this tinoe at Bender, 
putting every spring in motion to engage the 
divan to declare war against the czar, received 
this news as one of the severest blows his unto- 
ward fortune had dealt him : he could not brook, 
that his senate at Stockholm should pretend to 
tie up the hands of his army, and it was on this 
occasion that he wrote them word, he would send 
one of bis boots to govern them. 

The Danes, in the mean time, were making 
preparations to invade Sweden ; so that every 
nation in Europe was now engaged in war, Spain, 
Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, and 
England, were contending for the donanions left 
by Charles II. of Spain; and the whole North 
■was up in arms against Charles XII. There want- 
ed only a quarrel with the Ottoman empire, for 
every village in Europe to be exposed to the ra- 
vages of war. This quarrel happened soon after- 
wards, when Peter had attained to the Eummit 
of his glory, and precisely for that reason. 


Campaign of Pruth. 

CULTAN Achmet III. declared war against 
Peter I. not from any regard to \he king of 
Sweden, but, as mav readilv be supposed, merely 
from a view to his own interest. The Khan of 
the Crim Tartars could not without dread, be- 


hold a neighbour so powerful as Peter T The 
Porte had, for some time, taken umbrage at the 
number of ships which this prince had on the 
Palus Mffiotis, and in the Black Sea, at his for- 
tifying the city of Azoph, and at the flourishing 
state of the harbour of Taganroc, already become 
famous ; and, lastly, at his great series of suc- 
cesses, and at the ambition which success never 
fails to augment. 

It is neither true, nor even probable, that the 
Porte .should have begun the war against the 
czar, on the Palus Maeotis, for no other reason 
than because a Swedish ship had taken a bark ou 
the Baltic, o;i board of which was found a letter 
from a minister, whos.? name has never been 
mentioned. Norberg tells us, that this letter 
contained a plan for the conquest of the Turkish 
empire ; that it was carried to Charles XII. who 
was then in Turkey, and was by him sent to the 
divan ; and that immediately after the receipt of 
this letter, war was declared. But this story 
carries the mark of fiction with it. It \vas the 
remonstrances of the khan of Tartary, who was 
'more uneasy about the neighbourhood of Azoph, 
than the Turkish divan, that induced this latter 
to give orders for taking the field.* 

• The account this chaplain gives of the demands of 
the grand seignior is equall)' false and puerile He 
says, that sultan Achmct, previous to his declaring; war 
against the czar, sent to that prince a paper, containing 
the conditions oQ which he was willing to grant him 
peace. These conditions, Norberg tells us, were as fol- 
lows : ^fhat Peter should renounce liis alliance with 
Aogiistus. reinstate Stanislaus in the possession of the 
crown of Poland, restore all I.ivonia to Charlen XII., and 
pay that prince the value in ready money of what he had 
taken from him at the battle of Pultowa ; and. lastly, 
that the should demolish his newlybuiU city of Pe 


It was in the month of August, and before the 
czar had completed the reduction of Livonia, 
when Achmet 111. resolved to dechire war against 
him. Tbe Turks, at that time, could hardly have 
had the news of the taking of Riga; and, there- 
fore, the proposal of restoring to the king of 
Sweden the value in money, of the eSVcts he 
had lost at the battle of Pultowa, would have 
been the most absurd thing imaginable, if not 
exceeded by that of demolishing Petersburg. The 
behaviour of Charles XII. at Bender, was suffi- 
ciently romantic ; but the conduct of the Turkish 
divan would have been much more so, if we sup- 
pose it to have made any demands of this kind. 

Nov. 1710.] The khan of Tartary, who was 
the principal instigator of this war, paid Charles 
a visit in his retreat at Bender. They were con- 
nected by 'he same interests, inasmuch as Europe 
makes part of the frontiers of Little Tartary. 
Charles and the khan were the two greatest suf- 
ferers by the successes of the czar ; but the khan 
did not command the forces of the grand seig- 
nior. He was like one of the feudatory princes 
of Germany, who served iu the armies of the 
empire with their own troops, and were subject 
to the authority of the emperor's generals for the 
time being. 

Nov. 29, 1710 ] The first step taken by the 
divan, was to arrest Tolstoy, the czar's ambas- 
sador at the Porte, in the streets of Constanti- 
nople, together with thirty of his domestics, who, 
with their master, were all conhnedin the prison 

lereburg.' This piece was forged by one Brazej, a half- 
starved pamphleteer, and antbor of a work entitled. Me- 
moirs, Satirical, Historical, and Entertaining. It was 
from this fountain Norberg drew his intelligence; and 
howcTer he may have been the confessor of Charles XII. 
he certainly does not appear to have been his confidant. 


of the Seven Towers. This barbarous custom, 
at which even savages would blush, is owing to 
the Turks having always a number of foreign 
ministers residing amongst them from other 
courts, whereas they never send any in return. 
They look upon the ambassadors of Christian 
princes in no other light than as merchants or 
consuls ; and, having naturally as great a con- 
tempt for Christians as they have for Jews, they 
seldom condescend to observe the laws of na- 
tions, in respect to them, unless forced to it ; at 
least, they have hitherto persisted in this barba- 
rous pride. 

The famous vizier, Achmet Couprougli, the 
same who took the island of Candia, under Maho- 
met IV., insulted the son of the French ambas- 
sador, and even carried his brutality so far as to 
strike him, and afterwards to confine him in 
prison, without Lewis XIV'., proud and lofty as 
he was, daring to resent it, otherwise than by 
sending another minister to the Porte. The 
Christian princes, who are so remarkably deli- 
cate on the point of honour amongst themselves, 
and have even made it a part of the law of na- 
tions, seem to be utterly insensible on this head 
in regard to the Turks. 

Never did a crowned head suffer greater af- 
fronts in the persons of his ministers, than czar 
Peter. In the space of a few years, his ambas- 
sador at the court of London was thrown into 
jail for debt, his plenipotentiary at the courts of 
Poland and Saxony was broke upon the wheel, 
by order of the king of Sweden ; and now his 
minister at the Ottoman Porte was seized and 
thrown into a dungeon at Constantinople, like ;i 
common felon.* 

• The new vizier embraced every opportaniiy of 
nfTroDtini; the czar, io the persou of his >'.a\oy, and par. 


We have already observed, in the first part of 
this history, that he received satisfaction from 
queen Anne, of England, for the insult offered 
to his ambassador at London 'J'he horrible af- 
front he suffered, in the person of Patkul, was 
washed away in the blood of the Swedes slain at 
the battle of Pultowa ; but fortune permitted the 
violation of the law of nations by the Turks to 
pass unpunished. 

Jan. 1711.] The czar now found himself ob- 
liged to quit the theatre of war in the west, and 
march towards the frontiers of Turkey. He be- 
gan by causing ten regiments, which he had in 
Poland, to advance towards Moldavia. t He then 
ordered marshal Sheremeto to set out from 
Livonia, with his body of forces ; and, leaving 
prince Menzikoff at the head of affairs at Pe- 
tersburg, he returned to IMoscow, to give orders 
for opening the ensuing campaign. 

Jan. 18.] He now establishes a senate of re- 
gency : the regiment of guards begin their march, 
he issues orders for all the young nobility to fol- 
low him to the field, to learn the art of war, and 

ticularly in giving the French ambassador the preference. 
It was customary, on the promotion of the grar.d vizier, 
for all the foreign ministers to 'equest an audience of 
congratulation. Connt Tolstoy was the first who de- 
manded that audience ; but was answered — That the 
precedence had always been given to the ambassador of 
France : whereupon Tolstoy informed the viaier — That 
te must be deprived of the pleasure of waiting on him 
at all: which, being maliciously represented, as express- 
ing the utmost contempt cf his person, and the khan of 
Tartary being at the same time instigated to make several 
heavy complaints acrainst the conduct of the Russians on 
the frontiers, count Tolstoy was immediaieiy committed 
to the castle of tbe Seven Towers. 

t It is very strange that so many writers always con- 
found Walachia and Moldavia together. 


places some of them iu the station of cadets, and 
others in that of subaltern officers. Admiral 
Apraxin goes to Azoph to take the command by 
sea and land. These several measures being 
taken, the czar publishes an ordonnance in Mos- 
cow for acknowledging a new empress. This 
was the person who had been taken prisoner in 
Marienburg, in the year 1702. Peter had, in 
1696, repudiated his wife Eudoxia Lopoukin (or 
Lapouchin) by whom he had two children. 'Jhe 
laws of his church allow of no divorces ; but, had 
they not, Peter would have enacted a new law 
to permit them. 

The fair captive of Marienburg, who had 
taken the name of Catherine, had a soul superior 
to her sex and her misfortunes. She rendered 
herself so agreeable to the czar, that this prince 
would have her always near his person. She 
accompanied him in all his excursions, and most 
fatiguing campaigns : sharing in his toils, and 
softening his uneasiness by her natural gaiety, 
and the great attention she shewed to oblige him 
on all occasions, and the indifference she ex- 
pressed for the luxury, dress, and other indul- 
gences, of which the generality of her sex are, in 
other countries, wont to make real necessities. 
She frequently softened the passionate temper of 
the czar, and, by making him more clement and 
merciful, rendered him more truly great. In a 
word, she became so necessary to him, that he 
married her privately, in 1707. He had already 
two daughters by her, and the following year she 
bore him a third, who was afterwards married 
to the duke of Holstein.* 

• This duke of Holstein, at the time he married the 
daughter of Peter I. was a prince of very inconsiderable 
power, though of one of t.'ie most ancient houses in Ger- 
maoy. Ilia ancestors had been strijiped of great part of 


March 17, 1711.] The czar made this private 
inaniage known the very day he set out with her 
to trr the fortune of his arms against the Turks. 
The several dispositions he had made seemed to 
promise a successful issue. The hetman of the 
Cossacks was to keep the Tartars m awe, who 
had already began to commit ravages in the Uk- 

their dominions by the kings of Denmark ; eo that, at 
the time of this marriage, he found himself srreaily cir- 
cumscribed in point of possessions ; bat, from this epoch 
of his alliance with the czar of Muscovy, «-e may date 
the rise of the ducal branch of Holsiein, which now fillg 
the thrones of Russia and Sweden, and is likewise in pos- 
session of the bishopric of Lubec, which, iu all probabi- 
lity, will fall to this house, notwithstanding the late 
election, which at present is the sutject of litigation, the 
iss'ie of which will, to all appearance, terminate in favour 
of the prince, son to the present bishop, through the pro- 
tection of the courts cf Vienna and Petersburg. The 
empress Catherine, who now sits on the throne of Russia 
is herself descended from this aujrtist house, by the side 
of her mother, who was sister to the king of Sweden, to 
the prince-bishop of Lubec, and to the famous prince 
George of Holstein, whose achievements made so msch 
noise during the war. This princess, whose name was 
Elizabeth, married the reigning prince of Anbak Zerbst, 
whose house was indisputably the most ancient ; and, in 
former times, the most powerful in all Germany, since 
they can trace thoir pedigree from the dukes of Ascanis, 
who were formerly masters of the two electorates of Sax- 
ony and Brandenburg, as appears by their armorial bear- 
ings, which are, quarterly, the arms of Saxony and Bran- 
denburg. Of this branch of Zerbst there is remaining 
onlj' the present reigning prince, brother to the empresi 
Catherine, who, in case he should die without issue, wiU 
succeed to the principality of Yevern, in East f riesland ; 
from all which it appears already, that the family of 
Hclstein is at present the most powerful in Europe, a« 
being in possession of three crowns in the Korth. — [Since 
the above was written important changes havotaken place.] 


raine. The main body of the Russian army was 
advancing towards Niester, and another body of 
troops, under prince Galitzin, were in full march 
through Poland. Every thing went on favourably 
at the beginning : for Galitzin having met with a 
numerous body of Tartars near Kiow, who had 
been joined by some Cossacks and some Poles of 
king Stanislaus' party, as also a few Swedes, he 
defeated them entirely, and killed near five thou- 
sand men. These Tartars had, in their ma«ch 
through the open country, made about ten thou- 
sand prisoners. Is has been the custom of the 
Tartars, time immemorial, to carry with them a 
much greater number of cords than scimitars, in 
order to bind the unhappy wretches they surprise. 
The captives v/ere all set free, and those who had 
made them prisoners were put to the sword. 
The whole Russian army, if it had been assem- 
bled together, would have amounted to sixty 
thousand men. It was t*o have been farther aug- 
mented by the troops belonging to the king of 
Poland. This prince, who owed every thing to 
the czar, came to pay him a visit at Jaroslaw, on 
the river Sana, the 3d of June, 1714, and pro- 
mised him powerful succours. War was now 
declared against the Turks, in the name of these 
two monarchs : but the Polish diet, not willing 
to break with the Ottoman Porte, refused to ra- 
tify the engagement their king had entered into. 
It was the fate of the czar to hav«, in the king 
of Poland, an ally who could never be of any ser- 
vice to him. He entertained the same hopes of 
assistance from the princes of Moldavia and Wa- 
lachia, and was, in the like manner, disappointed. 
These two provinces ought to have taken this 
opportunity to shake off the 'I'urkish yoke. These 
countries were those of the ancient Daci, who, 
together with the Gepidi, with whom they were 


intermixed, did, for a long time, di-rur't the 
Roman empire. They were at leiij^tii subdued 
by the emperor Trajan, and Constaniine the First 
made them embrace the Christian religion. Dacia 
was cue of the provinces of the eastern empire ; 
but shortly after these very people contributed 
to the ruin of that of the west, by serving under 
the Odoacers and Theodorics. 

They afterwards continued to be subject to the 
Greek empire ; and when the Turks made ihem- 
se ves masters of Constantinople, were governed 
and oppressed by paiticular princes; at length 
they were totally subjected by the Padisha, or 
Tu'kish emperor, who now granted them an in- 
vestiture. The Hospodar, or Waiwod, chosen 
by the Ottoman Porte to govern these provinces, 
is always a Christian of the Greek church. Tho 
Turks, by this choice, give a proof of their tolera- 
tion, while our ignorant declaimers are accusing 
them of pei-secution. The prince, nominated, by 
the Porte, is tributary to. or rather farms these 
countries of the grand seignior ; this dignity being 
alwavs conferred on the best bidder, or him who 
makes the greatest presents to the vizier, in like 
manner as the Greek patriarch, at Constanti- 
nople. Sometimes this government is bestowed 
on a dragoman, that is to say, the interpreter to 
the divan. These provinces are seldom under 
the government of the same Waiwod, the Porte 
choosing to divide them, in order to be more sure 
of retaining them in subjection. Demetrius Can- 
temir, was at this time ^Vaiwod of Moldavia. 
This prince was said to be descended from Ta- 
merlane, because Tamerlane's true name waa 
Timur, and Timur was a Tartarian khan ; and 
so, from the name Tamurkau, say they, cwne 
the family of Canterair. 

Bassaraba Brancovan had been invested ic**^ 


the principality of Walachia, but had not found 
any genealogist to deduce his pedigree from the 
Tartarian conqueror. Cantemir thought the time 
now come to shake off the Turkish yoke, and 
render himself independent by means of the czar's 
protection. In this view he acted in the very 
same manner with Peter as Mazeppa had done 
with Charles XII. He even engaged Bassaraba 
for the present to join him in the conspiracy, of 
which he hoped to reap all the benefit himself: 
his plan being to make himself master of both 
provinces. The bishop of Jerusalem, who was 
at that time at Walachia, was the soul of this 
conspiracy. Cantemir promised the czar to fur- 
nish him with men and provisions, as Mazeppa 
did the king of Sweden, and kept his word no 
better thin he had done. 

General Sheremeto advanced towards Jassi. 
the capital of Moldavia, to inspect and occasion- 
ally assist the execution of these great pro- 
•ects. Cantemir came thither to meet him, and 
was received with all the honours due to a 
prince : but he acted as a prince in no one cir- 
cumstance, but that of publishing a manifesto 
against the I'urkish empire. The hospodar of 
Walachia, who soon discovered the ambitious 
views of iiis colleague, quitted his party, and re- 
turned to his duty. I'he bishop of Jerusalem 
dreading, with reason, the punishment due to his 
perfidy, fled and concealed himself: the people 
of Walachia and Moldavia continued faitliful to 
the Ottoman Porte, and those, who were tohav« 
furnished provisions for the Russian army, carried 
them to the Turks. 

The vizier, Baltagi Mahomet had already 
crossed the Danube, at the head of onfe hundred 
thousand men, and was advancing towards Jassi, 
along the banks of the river Prutli (formerly iho 


Hierasus), whicli falls into the Danube, and 
which is nearly the boundary of Moldavia and 
Bessarabia. He then dispatched count Ponia- 
towsky,* a Polish gentleman, attached to the for- 

• This same count Poniatowsky, who was at that time 
in the service of Charles XII. died afterwards castellan 
ofCracovia, and first seDator of the republic of Poland, 
after having enjoyed all the dignities to which a noblbman 
of that country can attain. His connexions with Charles 
XII. during that prince's retirement at Bender, first made 
tim taken notice of; and, it is to be wished, for the honour 
of his memory, that he had waited till the conclusion of a 
peace between Sweden and Poland, to be reconciled to 
' king Augustus ; but following the dictates of ambition, 
rather than those of strict honour, he sacrificed the in- 
terests of both Charles and Stanislaus, to the care of his 
own fortune ; and, while he appeared the most zealous in 
their cause, he secretly did them all the ill services he 
could at the Ottoman Porte : to this double dealing he 
owed the immense fortune of which he was afterwards 
possessed. lie married the princess Czartoriski, daugliter 
of the castellan of Vilna, a lady, for her heroic spirit, 
worth}' to have been born in the times of ancient Rome : 
when her eldest son, the present grand chamberlain of the 
crown, had that famous dispute with Count Tarlo, pala* 
tine of Lublin ; a dispute which made so much noise in all 
the public papers in the year 1742, this lady, after having 
made him shoot at a mark every day, for three weeks, in 
order to be expert at firing, said to him, as he was mount- 
ing his horse, to go to meet his adversar}' — ' Go, mv son ; 
but, if you do not acquit yourself with honour in this 
affair, never appear before me again.' This anecdote may 
ierre as a specimen of the character of our heroine, i he 
family of Czartoriski is descended from the ancient Jagel- 
lins, who were, for several ages, in lineal possession of 
the crown of Poland ; and is, at this day. extremely rich 
and powerful, by the alliances it has coinracied, but they 
have never been able to acquire popularity ; and so long 
as count Tarlo ^^^who was killed in a duel with the young 
count Poniatowsky) lived, had no influeuce in the die- 
tinea, i;r lesser assembly of the statos, because Tarlo, 


uineBof the king of Sweden, to desire that prince 
to make him a visit, and see his army. Charles, 
whose pride always got the better of his interest, 
would not consent to this proposal : he insisted 
that the grand vizier should make him the first 
visit, in his asylum near Bender. When Ponia- 
towsky returned to the Ottoman camp, and en- 
deavoured to excuse this refusal of his master, 
the vizier, turning to the khan of the Tartars, said, 
' This is the very behaviour I expected from this 
proud pagan.' This mutual pride, which never 
fails of alienating the minds of those in power 
from each other, did no service to the king of 
Sweden's affairs ; and indeed that prince might 
have easily perceived, from the beginning, that 
the Turks were not acting for his interest, but for 
their own. 

While the Turkish army was passing the 
Danube, the czar advanced by the frontiers of 
Poland, and passed the Boristhenes, in order to 
relieve marshal Sheremeto, who was then on the 
banks of the Pruth, to the southward of Jassi, 
and in danger of being daily surrounded by an 
army of ten thousand Turks, and an army of 
Tartars. Peter, before he passed the Boristhenes, 
was in doubt whether he should expose his be- 
loved Catherine to these dangers, which seemed 
to increase every day ; but Catherine, on her side, 
looked upon this solicitude of the czar, for her 
ease and safety, as an affront offered to her love 
and courage ; and pressed her consort so strongly 
on this head, that he found himself under a ne- 
cessity to consent that she should pass the river 
with him. The army beheld her with eyes of joy 

who was the idol of the nobles, and a sworn enemy to the 
Czartorisli family, carried every tiling before him, and 
nothing was done but according to his pleasure. 


and admiration, marching on horseback at the 
head of the troops, for she rarely made use of a 
carriage. After passing the Boristhenes, they 
had a tract of desert country to pass through, and 
then to cross the Bog, and afterwards the river 
Tiras, now called the Niester, and then another 
desert to traverse, before they came to the hanks 
of the Pruth. Catherine, during this fatiguing 
marv"h, animated the whole army by her cheer- 
fulness and affability. She sent refreshments to 
such of the oflBcers who were sick, and extended 
her care even to the meanest soldier. 

July4, 1711.] At length the czar brought his 
army in sight of Jassi. Here he was to establish 
his magazine. Bassaraba, the hospodar of Wa- 
lachia, who had again embraced the interest of 
the Ottoman Porte, but still, in appearance, con- 
tinued a friend to the czar, proposed to that 
prince to make peace with the Turks, although 
he had received no commission from the grand 
vizier for that purpose. His deceit, however, was 
Boon discovered ; and the czar contented himself 
with demanding only provisions for his army, 
which Bassaraba neither could nor would furnish. 
It was very difficult to procure anv supplies from 
Poland ; and these, which prince Cantemir had 
promised, and which he vainly hoped to procure 
from Walachia, could not be brought from thence. 
These disappointments rendered the situation of 
the Russian army very disagreeable ; and, as an 
addition to their aflflictions, they were infested 
with an immense swarm of grasshoppers, that 
covered the face of the whole country, and 
devoured, or s-poiled, every thing where they 
alighted. Thev were likewise frequently in want 
of water during their march through sandy de- 
serts, and beneath a scorching sun : what little 
they could procure, they were obliged to have 


brought in vessels to the camp, from a consider- 
able distance. 

During this dangerous and fatiguing march, 
the czar, by a singuhir fatality, found himself in 
the neighbourhood of his rival and competitor, 
Charles ; Bender not being above twenty-five 
leagues from the place where the Russian army 
was encamped, near Jassi. Some parties of Cos- 
sacks made excursions even to the place of that 
unfortunate monarch's retreat ; but the Crim Tar- 
tars, who hovered round that part of the country, 
sufficiently secured him from any attempt that 
might be made to seize his person ; and Charles 
waited in his camp with impatience, and did not 
fear the is:>ue of the war. 

Peter, as soon as he had established some ma- 
gazines, marched in haste with his army to the 
right of the river Pruth. His essential object 
was to prevent the Turks, who were posted to 
the left, and towards the head of the river, from, 
crossing it, and marching towards him. This 
effected, he would then be master of Moldavia 
and Walachia : with this view, he dispatched 
general Janus, with the vanguard of the army, 
to oppose the passage of the Turks ; but the ge- 
neral did not arrive till they had already began 
to cross the river upon their bridges ; upon which 
he was obliged to retreat, and his infantry was 
closely pursued by the Turks, till the czar came 
jp in person to his assistance. 

The grand vizier now marched directly along the 
river towards the czar. The two armies were very 
nnequal in point of numbers : that of the Turks, 
which had been reinforced by theTartarian troops, 
consisted of nearly two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand men, while that of the Russians hardly 
amounted to thirty-five thousand. There was 
indeed a considerable body of troops, headed by 


general Renne, on their march from the other 
side of the Moldavian mouutains ; but the 
Turks bad cut off all communication with those 

The czar's army now began to be in want of 
provisions, nor could, without the greatest diffi- 
culty, procure water, though encamped alaverj 
small (iisumce from the river; being exposed to 
a furioiii discharge from the batteries, which 
the grand vizier had caused to be erected on 
the left ^ide of the river, under the care of a 
body of troops, that kept up a constant fire 
against the Russians. By this relation, which 
is strictly circumstantial and true, it appears 
that Baltagi Mahomet, the Turkish vizier, far 
from being the pusillanimous, or weak com- 
mander, which the Swedes have represented him, 
gave proofs, on this occasion, tiiat he perfectly 
■well understood his business. The passing the 
Pruth in the sight of the enemy, obliging him to 
retreat, and harassing him in that retreat ; the 
cutting off all communication between the czar's 
army, and a body of cavalry that was marching 
to reinforce it ; the hemming in tbis army, 
without the least probability of a retreat ; and 
the cutting off all supplies of water and pro- 
visions, by keeping it constantly under the 
check of the batteries on the opposite side of 
the river, were manoeuvres that in no ways be- 
spoke the unexperienced or indolent general. 

Peter now saw himself in a situation even 
worse than that to which he had reduced his 
rival, Charles XII. at Pultowa ; being, like him, 
surrounded by a superior army, and in greater 
want of provisions ; and, like him, having con- 
fided in the promises of a prince, too powerful 
to be bound by those promises, he resolved 
aoon a retreat : and endeavoured to return to- 


wards Jassi, in order to choose a more advan- 
tageous situation for his camp. 

JuJy'20, 1711] He accordingly decamped under 
favour of the night; but his array bad scarcely 
begun its march, when, at break of day, the Turks 
fell upon his rear ,: but the Preobrazinski regi- 
ment turning about, and standing firm, did, for 
a considerable time, check the fury of their 
onset. The Russians then formed themselves, 
and made a line of intrenchments with their 
waggons and baggage. The same day (July 21.) 
the I urks returned a^in to the attack, with the 
"whole body of their army ; and, as a proof that 
the Russians knew how to defend themselves, 
let what will be alleged to the contrary, they 
also made head against this very superior force 
for a considerable time, killed a great number 
of their enemies, who in vain endeavoured to 
break in upon them. 

There were in the Ottoman army two officers 
belonging to the king of Sweden, namely, count 
Poniatowsky and the count of Sparre, who had 
the command of a body of Cossacks in that 
prince's interest. My papers inform me, that 
these two generals advised the grand vizier to 
avoid coming to action with the Russians, and 
content himself with depriving them of supplies 
of water and provisions, which would oblige 
them either to surrender prisoners of war, or to 
perish with famine . other memoirs pretend, on 
the contrary, that these oflScers would have per- 
suaded Mahomet to fall upon this feeble and 
half-starved army, in a weak and distressed con- 
dition, and put all to the sword. The first of 
these eeems to be the most prudent and circum- 
Bpect ; but the second is more agreeable to the 
character of generals who had been trained up 
under Charles XII. 


The real fact is, that the grand vizier fell 
upon the rear of the Russian army, at the dawn 
of day, which was thrown into confusion, and 
there remained only a line of four hundred men 
to confront the Turks. This small body formed 
itself with amazing quickness, under the orders 
of a German general, named Alard, who, to hia 
immortal honour, made such rapid and excellent 
dispositions on this occasion, that the Russians 
withstood, for upwards of three hours, the re- 
peated attack of the whole Ottoman army, with- 
out losing a foot of ground. 

The czar now found himself amply repaid for 
the immense pains he had taken to inure his 
troops to strict discipline. At the battle of 
Marva, sixty thousand men were defeated by 
only eight thousand, because the former were 
undisciplined ; and here we behold a rear-guard, 
consisting of only eight thousand Russians, sus- 
taining the efforts of one hundred and fifty 
thousand Turks, killing seven thousand of tbem, 
and obliging the rest to return back. 

After this sharp engagement, both armies in- 
trenched themselves for that night : but the 
Russians still continued enclosed, and deprived 
of all provisions, even water ; for notwithstand- 
ing they were so near the river Pruth, yet they 
did not dare approach its banks ; for as soon as 
any parties were sent out to find water, a body 
of Turks, posted on the opposite s-hore, drove 
them back by a furious discharge from their 
cannon, loaded with chain shot : and the body 
of the Turkish army, which had attacked that 
of the czar the daj before, continued to play 
upon them from another quarter, with the whole 
force of their artillery. 

The Russian army appeared now to be lost be- 
yond resource, by its position, by the inequality 


of numbers, and by the want of provisioas. 
The skirmishes on both sides were frequent and 
bloody : the Russian cavalry being almost ail 
dismounted, could no longer be of any service, 
unless by fighting on foot: in a word, the situa- 
tion of affairs was desperate. It was out o! 
their power to retreat, they had nothing left but 
to gain a complete victory ; to perish to the last 
man, or to be made slaves by the infidels. 

All the accounts and memoirs of those times 
unanimously agree, that the czrar, divided within 
himself, whether or not he should expose his 
wife, his army, his empire, and the fruits of all 
his labours, to almost inevitable destruction ; re- 
tired to his tent, oppressed with grief, and seized 
with violent convulsions, to which he was 
naturally subject, and wliich the present despe- 
rate situation of his affairs brought upon him 
with redoubled violence. In this condition he 
remained alone in his ten.t, having g'uven posi- 
tive orders, that no one shonld be admitted to 
be a witness to the distraction of his mind. 
But Catherine, hearing of his disorders, forced 
her way in to him ; and, on this occasion, Peter 
found how happy it was for him that he had 
permitted his wife to accompany him in this ex- 

A wife, who, like her, had faced death in its 
most horrible shapes, and had exposed her per- 
son, like the meanest soldier, to the fire of the 
Turkish artillery, had an undoubted right to 
apeak to her hushand, and to be heard. The 
czar accordingly listened to what she had to say, 
and in tho end suffered himself to be persuaded 
to try and send to the vizier with proposalt 
of peace. 

It has !.een a custom, from time immemorial, 
thruughout the East, that when any people ap« 


ply for an audience of the sovereign, or his re- 
presentative, they must not presume to approach 
them without a present. On this occasion, 
therefore, Catherine mustered the few jewels 
that she had brought with her, on this military 
tour, in which no magnificence or luxury were 
admitted ; to these she added two black foxes' 
skins, and what ready money she could collect ; 
the latter was designed for a present to the 
kiaia. She made choice herself of an officer, on 
whose fidelity and understanding she thought 
she could depend, who, accompanied with two 
servants, was to carry the presents to the grand 
vizier, and afterwards to deliver the money in- 
tended for the kiaia into his own hand. This 
officer was likewise charged with a letter from 
marshal Sheremeto to the grand vizier. The 
memoirs of czar Peter mentions this letter, but 
they take no notice of the other particulars of 
Catheriue's conduct in this business ; however, 
they are sufficiently confirmed by the declara- 
tion issued by Peter himself, in ITi^S, when he 
caused Catherine to be crowned empress, 
wherein we find these words : — ' She has been 
of the greatest assistance to us in all our dangers, 
and particularly in the battle of Pruth, when our 
army was reduced to twenty-two thousand men.' 
If the cz:ir had then indeed no more men capa- 
ble of bearing arms, the service which Catherine 
did him, on that occasion, was fully equivalent 
to the honours and dignities conferred upon her. 
The MS. journal of Peter the Great observes, 
that on the dav of the bloody battle (on the 20th 
July), he had thirty-one thousand five hundred 
and fifty-four foot, and six thousand si.t hundred 
aad ninety-two horse, the latter almost all dis- 
mounted ; he must then have lost sixteen thou- 
sand two hundred and fortv-six men in that en- 


gagement. The same memoirs affirm, the loss 
sustained hy the Turks greatly exceeded that of 
the Russians ; for as the former rushed upon 
the czar's troops pell-mell, and without observ- 
ing any order,' hardly a single fire of the latter 
missed its effect. If this is fact, the affair of 
• he iOth and i'lst of July, was one of the most 
bloody that had been known for many ages. 

We must either suspect Peter the Great of 
having been mistaken, in his declaration at the 
crowning of the empress, when he acknowledges 
' his obli^'ations to her of having saved his 
army, which was reduced to twenty-two thou- 
sand men,' or accuse him of a falsity in his 
journal, wherein he says, that the day on which 
the above battle was fought, his army, exclusive 
of the succours he expected from the other side 
the Moldavian mountains, amounted to thirty- 
one thousand five hundred and fifty-four foot, 
and six thousand six hundred and nine two 
horse. According to this calculation, the battle 
of Pruth must have been by far more terrible 
than the historians or memorials have repre- 
sented on either side. There must certainly be 
some mistake here, which is no uncommon thing 
in the relation of campaigns, especially when 
the writer enters into a minute detail of cir- 
cumstances. The surest method, therefore, on 
these occasions, is to confine ourselves to the 
principal events, the victory and the defeat ; as 
we can very seldom know, with any degree of 
certainty, the exact loss on either side. 

IJut however here the Russian army might be 
reduced in point of numbers, there were still 
hopes that tlie grand vizier, deceived by their 
vigorous and obstinate resistance, might be in- 
duced to grant them peace, upon such terms as 
might be honourable to his master's arms, and 


at the same time not absolutely disgraceful to 
those of the czar. It was the great merit of 
Catherine to bdve perceived this possibility, at a 
time when her ccnsort and his generals expected 
nothing less than inevitable destruction. 

Norberg, in his History of Charles XII. quotes 
a letter, sent by the czar to the grand viiier, in 
which he expresses himself thus : — ' If, con- 
trary to my intentions, I hive been so unhappy 
as to incur the displeasure of his highness. I am 
ready to make reparation for any cause of com- 
plaint he may have against me ; I conjure you, 
most noble general, to prevent the further effu- 
sion of blood ; give orders, I beseech you, to put 
a stop to the dreadful fire of your artillery, and 
accept the hostage I herewith send you' 

This letter carries all the marks of falsity with 
it, as do indeed most of the random pieces of 
Norberg: it is dated 11th July. N. S. whereas 
no letter was sent to Baltagi Mahomet till the 
21st, N. S. neither was it the czar who wrote to 
the vizier, but his general Sheremeto : there 
were no such expressions made use of as — ' if 
the czar has had the misfortune to incur the dis- 
pleasure of his highness ;' such terms being suit- 
able only to a subject, who implores the pardon 
of his sovereign, whom he has offended. There 
was no mention made of any hostage, nor was 
any one sent. The letter was carried by an 
officer, in the midst of a furious cannonade on 
both sides. Sheremeto, in his letter, only re- 
minded the vizier of certain overtures of peace 
that the Porte had made at the beginning of the 
campaign, through the mediation of the Dutch 
and English ministers, and by which the divan 
demanded that the fort and harbour of Taganroc 
should be given up, which were the real subject* 
of the war. 


fist July, 1711.] Some hours elapsed before 
the messenger received an answer from the grand 
vizier, and it was apprehended that he had either 
been killed by the enemy's cannon, or that they 
detained him prisoner. A second courier was 
therefore dispatched, with duplicates of the for- 
mer letters, and a council of war was immedi- 
ately held, at which Catherine was present. At 
this council ten general officers signed the follow- 
ing resolution : — 

' Resolved, If the enemy will not accept the 
conditions proposed, and should insist upon our 
laying down our arms, and surrendering at dis- 
cretion, that all the ministers and general officers 
are unanimously of opinion, to cut their way 
through the enemy sword in hand.' 

In consequence of this resolution, a line of in- 
trenchments was thrown round the baggage, and 
the Russians marched some few paces out of their 
camp, towards the enemy, when the grand vizier 
caused a suspension of arms to be proclaimed 
between the two armies. 

All the writers of the Swedish party have 
treated the grand vizier as a cowardly and infa- 
mous wretch, who had been bribed in sell the 
honour of his master's arms. In the same man- 
ner have several authors accused fount Piper of 
receiving money from the duke of Marlborough, 
to persuade the king of Sweden to continue the 
war against the czar ; and have laid to the charge 
of the French minister, that he purchased the 
peace of Seville for a stipulated sum. Such ac- 
cusations ought never to be advanced but on 
very strong proofs. It is very seldom that a mi- 
nister will stoop to such meannesses, which are 
always discovered, sooner or hiter, by those who 
have been entrusted with the payment of the 
money, or by the public registers, which never 


lie. A minister of state stands as a public objecf 
to the eyes of all Europe. His credit and influ- 
ence depend -wholly upon his character, and he 
is always sufficiently rich to be above the temp- 
tation of becoming a traitor. 

The place of viceroy of the Turkish empire is 
so illustrious, and the profits annexed to it, in 
time of war, so immense, there was such a pro- 
fusion of every thing necessary, and even luxuri- 
oas, in the camp of Baltagi Mahomet, and, on 
the other hand, so much poverty and distress in 
that of the czar, that surely the grand vizier was 
rather in a condition to give than to receive. Tht 
trifling present of a woman, who had nothing tc 
send but a few skins and some jewels, in com- 
pliance with the established custom of all courts, 
or rather those in particular of the East, can 
never be considered in the light of a bribe. The 
frank and open conduct of Baltagi Mahomet 
seems at once to give the lie to the black accu- 
sations with which so many writers have stained 
their relations. Vice chancellor Shaffiroflfpaid 
the vizier a public visit in his tent :' every thing 
was transacted in the most open mantier, on 
both sides ; and indeed it could not be other- 
wise. The very first article of the negotiation 
was entered upon in the presence of a person 
wholly devoted to the king of Sweden, a do- 
mestic of count Poniatowsky, who was himself 
one of that monarch's generals. This man served 
as an interpreter, and the several articles were 
publicly reduced to writing by the vizier's chief 
secretary, Hummer EfFendi. Moreover, count Po- 
niatowsky was there in person. The present sent 
to the kiaia was offered probably in form, and 
every thing was transacted agreeable to the ori- 
ental customs. Other presents were made by the 
Turks in return : so that there was not the least 


appearance of treachery or contrivance. The mo- 
tives which determined the vizier to consent to the 
proposals offered him, were, first that the body of 
troops under the command of general Renne, on 
the borders of the river Sireth, in Moldavia, had 
already crossed three rivers, and were actually 
in the neighbourhood of the Danube, where Renne 
had already made himself master of the town and 
castle of Brahila, defended by a numerous gar- 
rison, under the command of a basha. Secondly, 
the czar had likewise another body of troops ad- 
vancing through the frontiers of Poland ; and, 
lastly, it is more than probable that the vizier was 
not fully acquainted with the extreme scarcity 
that was felt in the Russian camp. One enemy 
seldom furnishes another with an exact account 
of his provisions and ammunition ; on the con- 
trary, either side are accustomed rather to make 
a parade of plenty, even at a time when they are 
in the greatest necessity. There can be no arti- 
fices practised to gain intelligence of the true 
state of an adversaiy's affairs, by means of spies, 
between the Turks and the Russians. The dif- 
ference of their dress, of their religion, and of 
their language, will not permit it. i'hey are, 
moreover, strangers to that desertion which pre- 
vails in most of our armies ; and, consequently, 
the grand vizier could not be supposed to know 
the desperate condition to which the czar's army 
was reduced. 

Baltagi, who was not fond of war, and who, 
nevertheless, had conducted this very well, 
thought that his expedition would be sufficiently 
successful, if he put his master in possession of 
the towns and harbours which made the subject 
of the war, stopt the progress of the victorious 
army under Uenne, and obliged that general to 
qmt the banks of the Danube, and return back 


into Russia, and for ever shut the entrance of the 
Falus Mffiotis, the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and 
the Black Sea, against an enterprising- prince ; 
and, lastly, if he avoided taking these certain 
advantages, on the hazard of a new battle (in 
which, after aM, despair might have got the bet- 
ter of superiority of numbers). The preceding 
day only he had beheld his janissaries repulsed 
with loss ; and there wanted not examples ol 
many victories having been gained by the weaker 
over the strong. Such then were Mahomet's 
reasons for accepting the proposals of peace. 
His conduct, however, did not merit the appro- 
bation of Charles's officers, who served in the 
Turkish army, nor of the khan of Tartary. It 
was the interest of the latter, and his followers, 
to reject all terms of accommodation which would 
deprive them of the opportunity of ravaging the 
frontiers of Russia and Poland. Charles XIL 
desired to be revenged on his rival, the czar : 
but the general, and the tirst mihister of the Ot- 
toman empire, was neither influenced by the pri- 
vate thirst of revenge, which animated the Chris- 
tian monarch, nor by the desire of booty, which 
actuated the Tartar chief. 

As soon as the suspension of arms was agreed 
to, and signed, the Russians purchased of the 
Turks the provisions, of which they stood in 
need. The articles of the peace were not ^signed 
at that time, as is related by La Motraye, and 
which Norberg has copied from him. The vizier, 
among other conditions, demanded that the czar 
should promise not to interfere any more in the 
Polish affairs. This was a point particularly in- 
sisted upon by count Poniatowsky ; but it was, 
in fact, the interest of the Ottoman crown, thai 
the kingdom of Poland should continue in its 
then defenceless and divided state j accoidingly 


this demand was reduced to tliat of the Russian 
troops evacuating the frontiers of Poland. The 
khan of Tartary, on his side, demanded a tribute 
of forty thousand sequins. This point, after 
being long debated, was at length given up. 

The grand vizier insisted a long time, that 
prince Cantemir should be delivered up to him, 
as Patkul had been to the king of Sweden. Can- 
temir was exactly in the same situation as Ma- 
zeppa had been. ihe czar caused that hetman 
to be arraigned and tried for his defection, and 
afterwards to be executed in effigy. The Turks 
were not acquainted with the nature of such pro- 
ceeding ; they knew nothing of trials for contu- 
macy, nor of public condemnations. The affixing 
a sentence on any person, and executing him in 
effigy, were the more unusual amongst them, as 
their law forbids the representation of any human 
ikeness whatever. The vizier in vain insisted 
on Cantemir's being delivered up ; Peter pe- 
remptorily refused to comply, and wrote the fol- 
lowing letter with his own hand, to his vice-chan- 
cellor Shaffiroff. 

' I can resign to the Turks all the country, as 
far as Carlzka, because 1 have hopes of being able 
to recover it again ; but 1 will, by no means, vio- 
late my faith, which, once forfeited, can never be 
retrieved. I have nothing I can properly call 
my own, but my honour, if 1 give up that, I 
cease to be longer a king.' 

At length the treaty was concluded, and signed, 
at a village called Falksen, on the river Pruth. 
Among other things, it was stipulated, that .-Vzoph, 
and the territories belongi:ig thereto, should be 
restored, together witli all the ammunition and 
artillery that were in the place, before the czar 
made himself master thereof, in 1596. That the 
harbour of Taganroc, in the Zabach Sea, should 


be demolished, as also that of Samara, on the 
river of the same name ; and several other for- 
tresses. There was likewise another article 
added, respecting the king of Sweden, wl)ich ar- 
ticle alone, sufficiently shews the little regard the 
vizier had for that prince ; for it was therein 
stipulated, that the czar should not molest Charles, 
in his return to his dominions, and that after- 
wards the czar and he might make peace with 
the other, if they were so inclined. 

It is pretty evident by the wording of this ex- 
traordinary article, that Baltagi .Mahomet had 
not forgot the haughty manner in which Charles 
XII. had behaved to him a short time before, and 
it is not unlikely that this very behaviour of the 
king of Sweden might have been one inducement 
with Mahomet to comply so readily with his ri- 
val's proposals for peace. Charles's glory de- 
pended wholly on the ruin of the czar : but we 
are seldom inclinable to exalt those who express 
a contempt for us : however, this prince, who 
refused the vizier a visit in his camp, on his in- 
vitation, when it was certainly his interest to have 
been upon good terms with him, now came thither 
in haste and unasked, when the work which put 
an end to all his hopes was on the point of being 
concluded. The vizier did not go to meet 
him in person, but contented himself with send- 
ing two of his bashas , nor would he stir out of 
his tent, till Charles was within a few paces of 

This interview passed, as every one knows, 
in mutual reproaches. Several historians have 
thouglit, that the answer which the vizier made to 
the king of Sweden, when that prince reproached 
him with not making the czar prisoner, when he 
might h.ave done it so easily, was the reply of a 
weak man. * If I had taken him prisoner,' said 


Mahomet, ' who would there be to govern hi» 
domiuions V 

It is very easy, however, to comprehend, that 
this was the answer of a mau who was piqued 
with resentment, and these words which he added 
— ' For it is not proper that every crowned head 
should quit his dominions' — sufficiently shewed 
that he intended to mortify the refugee of Bender. 

Charles gained nothing by his journey, but the 
pleasure of tearing the vizier's robe with his spurs; 
while that officer, who was in a condition to make 
him repent this splenetic insult, seemed not to 
notice it, in which he was certainly greatly su- 
perior to Charles. If any thing could have mad'e 
that monarch sensible, in the midst of his life, 
how easily fortune can put greatness to tlie blush, 
it would have been the reflection, that at the bat- 
tle of Pultowa, a pastry-cook's boy had obliged 
his whole army to surrender at discretion ; and 
iu this of Pruth a wood-cutter was the arbiter of 
his fate, and that of his rival the czar : for the 
vizier, Baltagi Mahomet, had been a cutter of 
wood in tiie grand seignior's seraglio, as his name 
implied ; and, far from being ashamed of that 
title, he gloried in it : so much do the manners 
of the eastern people differ from ours. 

When the news of this treaty reached Constan- 
tinople, the grand seignior was so well pleased, 
that he ordered public rejoicings to be made for 
a whole week, and Mahomet, the kiaia, or lieu- 
tenant general, who brought the tidiniis to the 
divan, was instantly raised to the dignity of bou- 
iouk imraour, or master of the horse : a certain 
proof that the sultan did not think himself ill 
perved by his vizier. 

Norberg seems to have known very little of the 
Turkish government, when he says, that ' the 
grand ueignior was obliged to keep fair with 


Baltagi ISIahomet, that vizier having rendered 
himself formidable.' The janissaries indeed have 
often rendered themselves formidable to their 
sultans ; but there is not one example of a vizier, 
who has not been easily sacrificed to the will or 
orders of his sovereign, and Mahomet was in no 
condition to support himself by his own power. 
Besides, Norberg manifestly contradicts himself, 
by affirming in the same page, that the janissaries 
were irritated against INIahomet, and that the 
sultan stood in dread of his power. 

The king of Sweden was now reduced to the 
necessity of forming cabals in the Ottoman court ; 
and a monarch, who had so lately made kings by 
his own power, was now seen waiting for audi- 
ence, and offering memorials and petitions which 
were refused. 

Charles ran through all the ambages of intrigue, 
like a subject who endeavours to make a minister 
suspected by his master. In this manner he 
acted against Mahomet, and against those who 
succeeded him. At one time he addressed him- 
self to the sultana Valide by means of a Jewess, 
who had admission into the seraglio ; at another, 
he employed one of the eunuchs for the same 
purpose. At length he had recourse to a man 
who was to mingle among the grand seignior's 
guards, and, by counterfeiting a person out of his 
senses, to attract the attention of the sultan, and 
by that means deliver into his own hand a me- 
morial from Charles. From all these various 
schemes, the king of Sweden drew only the 
mortification of seeing himself deprived of his 
thaim ; that is to say, of the daily pension which 
the Porte of its generosity had assigned him for 
his subsistence, and which amounted to about one 
tfaoosaud five hundred French livres.* The grand 
• About seventy pounds sterling. 


viiier, instead of remitting this allowance to him 
a« usual, sent him an order, in the form of a friendiy 
advice, to quit the grand seignior's dominions. 

Charles, however, was absolutely determined 
not to depart, still flattering himself with the vain 
hope, that he should once more re-enter Poland 
and Russia with a powerful army of Turks. Every 
one knows what was the issue of his inflexible 
boldness in the year 1714, and how he engaged 
an army of janissaries, Spahis, and Tartars, with 
only himself, his secretaries, his valet de chambre, 
cook, and stable men ; ihat he was taken prisoner 
in that country, where he had been treated with 
the greatest hospitality ; and that he at length got 
back to his own kingdom in the disguise of a 
courier, after having lived five years in 1 urkey : 
from all whirh it remains to be acknow edged, 
that if there was reason in the conduct of thia 
extraordinary prince, it was a reason of a yery 
different nature to that of other men. 
















Conclusion of the Affairs of Pruth. 

TT is necessary in this place to repeat an 
event already related in the History of 
Charles XH. It happened during the suspen 
sion of arms which preceded the treaty of 
Pruth, that two Tartarian soldiers surprised 
and took prisoners two Italian officers belong- 
ing to the czar's army, and sold them to an 
officer of the Turkish janissaries. The vizier 
being informed of this breach of public faith, 
punished the two Tartars with death. How are 
we to reconcile this severe delicacy with the 
violation of the law of nations in the person of 
Tolstoy, the czar's ambassador, whom this very 


vizier caused to be arrested iu the streets of Con- 
stantinople, and afterwards imprisoned in the 
CJistle of the Seven Towers 1 There is always 
some reason for the contradictions we find in the 
actions of mankind. Baltagi Mahomet was in- 
censed against the khan of Tartary, for havin>j 
opposed the peace he had lately made, and was 
resolved to shew that chieftain that he was hi* 

The treaty was no sooner concluded, than the 
czar quitted the borders of the Pruth, and returned 
towards his o-wn dominions, followed by a body 
of eight thousand Turks, whom the vizier had sent 
as an army of observation to watch the motions 
of the Russian army during its march, and also 
to serve as an escort or safeguard to them against 
the wandering Tartars which infested those parts. 

Peter instantly set about accomplishing the 
treaty, by demolishing the fortresses of Samara 
and Kamienska ; but the restoring of Azoph, and 
the demolition of the port of Taganroc, met with 
some difficulties in the execution. According to 
the terms of the treaty it was necessary to dis- 
tinguish the artillery and ammunition which be- 
longed to the Turks in Azoph before that place 
was taken by the czar, from those which had 
been sent thither after it fell into his hands. The 
governor of the place spun out this affair to a 
tedious length, at which the Porte was greatly 
incensed, and not without reason : the sultan was 
impatient to receive the keys of Azoph. The 
vizier promised they should be sent from time to 
time, but the governor always found means to 
delay the delivery of them. Baltagi Mahomet 
lost the good graces of his master, and with them 
his place. The khan of Tartary and his other 
enemies made such good use of their interest with 
the sultan, that the grand vizier was deposed, 


•everal bashaswere disgraced at the same time ; 
but the grand seignior, well convinced of thia 
minister's fidelity, did not deprive him either of 
his life or estate, but only sent him to IMytilene 
to take on him the command of that island. This 
simple removal from the helm of afiFairs (Nov, 
1711,), and the continuing to him his fortunes, 
and above all the giving him the command in 
Mytilene, sufficiently contradicts all that Norberg 
has advanced, to induce us to believe that this 
vizier had been corrupted with the czar's money. 
Norberg asserts furthermore, that the Bostangi 
basha, who came to divest him of his office, and 
to acquaint him of the grand seignior's sentence, 
declared him at the same time, ' a traitor, one 
who had disobeyed the orders of his sovereign 
lord, had sold himself to the enemy for money, 
and was foand guilty of not having taken proper 
care of the interests of the king of Sweden.' In 
the first place, this kind of declarations are not 
at all in use in Turkey : the orders of the grand 
seignior always being issued privately, and exe- 
cuted with secresy. Secondly, if the vizier had 
been declared a traitor, a rebel, and a corrupted 
person, crimes of this nature would have been 
instantly punished with death in a country where 
they are never forgiven. Lastly, if he was punish- 
able for not having sufficiently attended to the 
interests of the king of Sweden, it is evident that 
this prince must have had such a degree of in- 
fluence at the Ottoman Porte, as to have made 
the other ministers to tremble, who would con- 
sequently have endeavoured to gain his good 
graces ; whereas, on the contrary, the hasha 
Jussuf, aga of the janissaries, who succeeded 
Mahomet Baltagi as grand vizier, had the same 
sentiments as his predecessor, in relation to 
Charles's conduct, and was so far from doing him 


any service that be thought of nothing but bow 
to get rid of so dangerous a guest ; and when 
count Poniatowsky, the companion and confidant 
of that monarcii, went to compliment the vizief 
on bis new dignity, the latter spoke to him thus . 
* Pagan, I forewarn thee, that if ever 1 find thee 
batching any intrigues, I will, upon the first notice, 
cause thee to be thrown into the sea with a stone 
about thy neck.' 

This compliment count Poniatowsky himself 
relates in the memoirs which he drew up at my 
request, and is a sufiicieut proof of the little in- 
fluence his master had in the Turkish court. All 
that Norberg has related touching the aflfairs of 
that empire, appear to come fiom a prejudiced 
person, and one who was very ill informed of the 
circumstances he pretends to write about. And 
we may count among the errors of a party-spirit 
and political falsehood^, every thing which this 
writer advances unsupported bv proofs, concern- 
ing the pretended corruption of a grand vizier, 
that is, of a person who had the disposal of up 
wards of sixty millions per annum, without being 
subject to the least account.* I have now be- 
fore me the letter which count Poniatowsky wrote 
to King Stanislaus immediately after the signing 
the treaty of Pruth, in which he upbraids Bal- 
tagi IMahomet with the slight he shewed to the 
king of Sweden, bis dislike to the war, and the 
unsteadiness of bis temper ; but never once hints 
the least charge of corruption : for he knew too 
well what the place of grand vizier was, to enter- 
tam an idea, that the czar was capable of setting 
a pnce upon the infidelity of the second person 
in the Ottoman empire. 

Schaffirow and Sheremeto, who remained at 

* French money, which is always counted by livrea 
and makes about three millions sterling. 


CouBtantinopIe as hostages on the part of the era? 
for his jie-formance of the treaty, were not used 
in the nianner they would have been if known to 
have purchased this peace, and to have joined 
with the vizier in deceiving his master. They 
were left to go at liberty about the city, escorted 
by two companies of janissaries. 

The czar's ambassador Tolstoy having been re- 
leased from his confinement in the Seven lowers, 
immediately upon the signing of the treaty of 
Pruth, the Dutch and English ministers inter- 
posed with the new vizier to see the several arti- 
cles of that treaty put into execution. 

Azoph was at length restored to the Turks, and 
the fortresses mentioned in the treaty were de- 
molished according to stipulation. And now the 
Ottoman Porte, though very little inclinable to 
interfere in the differences between Christian 
princes, could not without vanity behold himself 
made arbitrator between Russia, Poland, and the 
king of Sweden ;and insisted that the czar should 
withdraw his troops out of Poland, and deliver 
the Turkish empire from so dangerous a neigh- 
bour; and, desirous that the Christian princes 
might continually be at war with each other, 
wished for nothing so much as to send Charles 
home to his own dominions, but all this while 
had not the least intention of fumisliing him with 
an army. 1 he Tartars were still for war, as an 
artificer is willing to seize every opportunity to 
exercise his calling. The janissaries likewise 
wished to be called into the field, but more out 
of hatred against the Christians, their naturally 
restless disposition, and from a fondness for ra- 
pine and licentiousness, than from any other 
motives. Nevertheless, the English and Dutch 
ministers managed their negotiations so well, 
tha^. they prevailed over the opposite party : the 


treaty of Pruth was confirmed, but with the atl- 
dition of a new article, by which it was stipulated 
that the czar should withdraw his forces from 
Poland within three months, and that tlie sultan 
should immediately send Charles XII. out of his 

We may judge from this new treaty whethei 
the king of Sweden hu.d that interest at the Porto 
■which some writers would have us to believe. 
He was evidently sacrificed on this occasion bj 
the new vizier, basha Jussuf, as he had been be- 
fore by Baltagi Mahomet. The historians of his 
party could find no other expedient to colour over 
this fresh affront, but that of accusing Jussuf of 
having been bribed like his predecessor. Such 
repeated imputations, unsupported by any proofs, 
are rather the clamours of an impotent cabal, 
than the testimonies of history ; but faction, 
Twhen driven to acknowledge facts, will ever be 
endeavouring to alter circumstances and motives ; 
and, unhappily, it is thus that all the histories of 
our times will be handed down to posterity so 
altered, that they will be unable to distinguish 
truth from falsehoods. 

CHAP. xxn. 

Marriage of the czarowitz. — The marriage of Pet«r and 
Catherine publicly Bolemnized. — Catherine Qndi her 

n^HIS unsuccessful campaign of Pruth proved 
more hurtful to the czar than ever the battle 
of Narva was ; for after that defeat he had found 
means not only to retrieve his losses, but also to 
wrest Ingria out of the hands of Charles XII. ; 
but by the treaty of Falksten, in which he con* 
sented to give up to the sultan his forts and bar* 


boars on the Palus Maiotis Le for ever lost his 
projected superiority in the Black Sea. He had 
besides an infinite deal of work on his hands ; 
his new establishments in Russia were to be per- 
fected, he had to prosecute his victories over the 
Swedes, to settle king Augustus firmly on the 
Polish throne, and to manage affairs properly 
with the several powers with whom he was in 
alliance ; but the fatigues he had undergone 
having impaired his health, he was obliged to go 
to Carlsbad* to drink the waters of that place. 
While he was there he gave orders for his troops 
to enter Pomerania, who blockaded Stralsund, 
and took five other towns in the neighbourhood. 

Pomerania is the most northern province of 
Germany, bounded on the east bj Prussia and 
Poland, on the west by Brandenburg, on the 
south by INIecklenburg, and on the north by the 
Baltic Sea. It has changed masters almost 
every century : Gustavus Adolphus get posses- 
sion of it in his famous thirty years war, and it 
was afterwards solemnly ceded to the crown of 
Sweden by the treaty of Westphalia: with a re- 
servation of the little bishopric of Camin, and a 
few other small towns lying in Upper Pomerania. 
The whole of this province properly belongs to 
the elector of Brandenburg, in virtue of a family 
compact made with the dukes of Pomerania, 
whose family being extinct in 1637, consequently 
by the laws of the empire the house of Branden- 
burg had an undoubted right to the succession; 
bat necessity, the first of all laws, occasioned 
this family compact to be set aside by the treaty 
of Osnaburg ; after which, almost the whole of 
Pomerania fell to the lot of the victorious Swedes, 

The czar's intention was to wrest from Sweden 

* A town io Bohemia famoo« for iu mineral tprlog* 


Jtll the provinces that crown was possessed of 
in Germany ; and, in order to accomplish hifl 
design, be found it necessary to enter into a 
confederacy with the electors of Hanover and 
Brandenbarg, and the king of Denmark. Peter 
drew up the several articles of the treaty he 
projected with these powers, and also a com- 
plete plan of the necessary operations for ren- 
dering him master of Pomerania. 

In the meanwhile he went to Torgau, to be 
present at the nuptials of his son the czarowitx 
Alexis with the princess of Wolfenbuttel (Oct. 
23, 1711.), sister to the consort of Charles VI. 
emperor of Germany ; nuptials which, in the 
end, proved fatal to his own peace of mind, and 
to the lives of the unfortunate pair. 

The czarowitz was born of the first marriage 
of Peter the Great to Eudocia Lapoukin, to whom 
he was espoused in 1689: she was at that time 
shut up in the monastery of i^usdal; their son 
Alexis Petrowitz, who was born the 1st of 
March, 1690, was now in his tweaty-second 
year: this prince was not then at all known ia 
Europe ; a minister, whose memoirs of the court 
of Russia have been printed, says in a letter he 
writes to his master, dated August 2.j, 1711, 
that ' this prince was tall and well made, re- 
sembled his father greatly, was of an excellent 
disposition, very pious, had read the Bible five 
times over, took great delight in the ancient 
Green historians, appeared to have a very quick 
apprehension and understauding, was well ac- 
quainted with the mathematics, the art of war, 
navigation, and hydraulics •, that he understood 
the German language, and was then learning 
the French, but that his father would never suffer 
him to go through a regular course of study.' 

Thie character h very differen* frcrm tf.i' 


which the czar himself gives of his son some time 
afterwards, in which we shall see with how mucli 
grief he reproaches him with faults directly op- 
posite to those good qualities, for which this 
minister seems so much to admire him. 

We must leave posterity, therefore, to deter- 
mine between the testimony of a stranger, who 
may have formed too slight a judgment, and the 
declaration of a parent, who thought himself 
under a necessity of sacrificing the dictates of 
nature to the good of his people. If the minister 
was no better acquainted with the disposition of 
Alexis than he seems to have been with his out- 
ward form, his evidence will have but little 
weight; for ho describes this prince as tall and 
well made, whereas the memoirs sent me from 
Petersburg say, that he was neither the one nor 
the other. 

His mother-in-law, Catherine, was not pre- 
sent at his nuptials ; for though she was already 
looked upon as czarina, yet she had not been 
publicly acknowledged as such : and moreover, 
as she had only the title of highness given her 
at the czar's court, her rank was not sufficiently 
settled to admit of her signing the contract, or to 
appear at the ceremony in a station befitting the 
consort of Peter the Great. She therefore re 
mained at Thorn in Polish Prussia. Soon after 
the nuptials were celebrated, the czar sent the 
new-married couple away to VVolfenbuttel (Jan. 
9, 171'2), and brought back the czarina to Pe- 
tersburg with that dispatch and privacy which 
he observed in all his journies. 

Feb. 19, 1711'.] Having now disposed of his 
son, he publicly solemnized his own nuptials 
with Catherine, which had been declared in pri- 
vate before. This ceremony was performed with 
as much magnificence as could be expected in a 
K 2 


city but yet in its infancy, and from a revennc 
exhausted by the late destructive war against 
the Turks, and that which he was still engaged 
in against the king of Sweden. The czar gave 
orders for, and assisted himself in, all the prepa- 
rations for the ceremony, according to the usual 
custom ; and Catherine was now publicly de- 
clared czarina, in reward for having saved ber 
husband and his whole army. 

The acclamations with which this declaratioa 
was received at Petersburg were sincere : the 
applauses which subjects confer on the actions 
of a despotic sovereign are generally suspected ; 
but on this occasion they were confirmed by the 
united voice of all the thinking part of Europe, 
who beheld with pleasure, on the one hand, the 
heir of a vast monarchy with no other glory than 
that of his birth, married to a petty princess ; 
and, on the other hand, a powerful conqueror, 
and a law-giver, publicly sharing his bed and his 
throne with a stranger and a captive, who had 
nothing to recommend her but her merit : and 
this approbation became more general as the 
minds of men grew more enlightened by that 
sound philosophy, which has made so great a 
progress in our understandings within these last 
forty years : a philosophy, equally sublime and 
discerning, which teaches us to pay only tlie 
exterior respect to greatness and authority, whil»- 
we reserve our esteem and veneration for shining 
talents and meritorious services. 

And here I think myself under an obligation 
to relate what I have met touching this marriage 
in the dispatches of count Bassewitz.aulic coun- 
sellor at Vienna, and long time minister from 
Holstein at tl.e court of Russia ; a person of great 
merit, and whose memory is still held in the 
highest esteem in Germany. In some of hi? 


letters he speaks thus : ' The czarina had not 
only been the main instrument of procuring the 
czar that reputation which he enjoyed, but was 
likewise essentially necessary in the preservation 
of his life. This prince was unhappily subject to 
violent convulsion fits, which were thought to 
be the effects of poison which had been given 
him while he was young. Catherine alone had 
found the secret of alleviating his sufi'crings by 
an unwearied assiduity and atteiaion lo what- 
ever she thought would please liira, and made it 
the whole study of her life to preserve a health 
30 valuable to the kingdom and to herself, inso- 
much, that the c^ar finding he could not live 
without her, made her the companion of his 
throne and bed.' I here only repeat the express 
words of the writer himself. 

Fortune, which has furnished us with many 
extraordinary scenes in this part of the world, 
and who had raised Catherine from the lowest 
abyss of misery and distress to the pinnacle of 
humaa grandeur, wrought another extraordinary 
incident in her favour some few years after hei 
marriage with the czar, and which I find thus 
related in a curious manuscript of a person who 
was ut that time in the czar's service, and who 
speaks of it as a thing to which he was eye- 

An envoy from king Augustus to the court of 
Peter the Great, being on his return home 
through Courland, and having put up at an inn 
by the way, heard the voice of a person who 
seemed in great distress, and whom the people 
of the house were treating in that insulting 
manner which is but too common on such occa- 
sions : the stranger, with a tone of resentment^ 
made answer, that they would not dare to use 
Lim thus, if he could but odco get to the speech 


of the czar, at whose court he had perhaps more 
powerful protectors than they imagined. 

The envoy, upon hearing this, had a curiosity 
to a&k tlie man some questions, and, from cer- 
tain answers he let fail, and a close examination 
of his face, he thought he found in him some re- 
semblance of the empress Catherine ; and, wheu 
he came to Dresden, he could not forbear writing 
to one of his friends at Petersburg concerning it. 
This letter, by accident, came to the czar's 
hands, who immediately sent an order to prince 
Repnin, then governor of Riga, to endeavour to 
find out the person mentioned in the letter. 
Prince Repnin immediately dispatched a mes- 
senger to Mittau, in Courland, who, on inquiry, 
found out the man, and learned that his name 
was Charles Scavronsky; that he was the son of 
a Lithuanian gentleman, who had been killed in 
the wars of Poland, and had left two children 
then in the cradlo, a boy and a girl, who had 
neither of them received any other education than 
that which .simple nature gives to those who are 
abandoned by the world. Scavronsky, who had 
been parted from his sister while they were both 
infants, knew nothing further of her than that 
she had been taken prisoner in Marienburg, 
in the year 1704, and supposed her to be still in 
the household of prince Menzikoff, where he ima- 
gined she might have made some little fortune. 

Prince Repnin, agreeable to the particular 
orders he had received from the czar, caused 
Scavronsky to be seized, and conducted to Riga, 
under pretence of some crime laid to his charge ; 
and, to give a better colour to the matter, at his 
arrival there, a sh.ira information was drawn up 
against him, and he was soon after sent from 
thence to Petersburg, under a strong guard, with 
orders to treat him well upon the road. 


When he cama to that capital, he was carried 
• to the house of an officer of the emperor's palace, 
named Shepleff, who, having been previously 
instructed in the part he was to play, drew se- 
veral circumstances from the young man in re- 
lation to his condition ; and, after some time, 
told him, that although the information, which 
had been sent up from Riga against him, was of 
a very serious nature, yet he would have justice 
done him ; but that it would be necessary to pre- 
sent a petition to bis majesty for that purpose ; 
that one should accordingly be drawn up in his 
name, and that he (Shepleff) would find means 
that he should deliver it into the czar's own 

The next day the czarcame to dine with Shep- 
leff, at his own house, who presented Scavronsky 
to him ; when his majesty, after asking him 
abundance of questions was convinced, by the 
natural answers he gave, that he was really the 
czarina's brother ; they had both lived in Livonia, 
when young, and the czar found every thing that 
Scavronsky said to him, in relation to his family 
affairs, tally exactly with what his wife had told 
him concerning her brother, and the misfortunes 
which had befallen her and her brother in the 
earlier part of their lives. 

The czar, now satisfied of the truth, proposed 
the next day to the empress to go and dine with 
him at Shepleff's ; and, when dinner was over, 
he gave orders that the man, whom he had ex- 
mained the day before, should be brought in again. 
Accordin^'Iy he was introduced, dressed in the 
pame clothes he had wore while on his journey 
to Riga; the czar not being willing that he 
should ajtpear in any other garb than what his 
unhappy circumstances had accustomed him to. 

He interrogated him again, in the presence of 


his wife ; and the MS. adds, tbat, at the end, 
he turned about to the empress, and said these 
very words : — ' This man is your brother ; come 
hither, Charles, and kiss the hand of the empress, 
and embrace your sister.* 

The author of this narrative adds further, that 
the empress fainted away with surprise ; and 
that, when she came to herself again, the czar 
said, ' There is nothing in this but what is very 
natural. This gentlemen is my brother in-law ; 
if he has merit, we will make something of him ; 
if he has not, we must leave him as he is.' 

I am of opinion, that this speech shews as 
much greatness as simplicity, and a greatness not 
very common. My author says, that Scavronsky 
remained a considerable time at Sheplefl~s house ; 
that the czar assigned him a handsome pension, 
but that he led a very retired life. He carries his 
relation of this adventure no farther, as he made 
use of it only to disclose the secret of Catherine's 
brother : but we know, from other authorities, 
that this gentleman was afterwards created a 
count ; that he married a young lady of quality, 
by whom he had two daughters, who were mar- 
ried to two of the principal noblemen in Russia. 
I leave to those, who may be better informed of 
the particulars, to distinguish what is fact in this 
relation, from what may have been added ; and 
shall only say, that the author does not seem to 
have told this story out of a fondness for enter- 
taining his readers with the marvellous, since his 
papers were not intended to be published. He 
is writing freely to a friend, abouta thing of which 
he says he was an eye-witness. He may have 
been mistaken in some circumstances, but the 
fact itself has all the appearance of truth ; for 
if this gentleman had kr-iown that his sister was 
raised to so great dignity and power, he would 


not certuinly have remained so many years with- 
out having made himself known to her. And 
this discovery, however extraordinary it may 
seem, is certainly not more so than the exalta- 
tion of Catherine herself; and both the one and 
the other are striking proofs of the force of des- 
tiny, and may teach us to be cautious how we 
treat as fabulous several events of antiquity, 
•which perhaps are less contradictory to the com- 
mon order of things, than the adventures of this 

The rejoicings made by the czar Peter for his 
own marriage, and that of his son, were not of 
the nature of those transient amusements which 
exhaust the public treasure, and are presently 
lost in oblivion. He completed his grand foundry 
for cannon, and finished the admiralty buildings. 
The highways were repaired, several ships built, 
and others put upon the stocks ; new canals were 
dug, and the finishing hand put to the grand 
warehouses, and other public buildings, and the 
trade of Petersburg began to assume a flourishing 
face. He issued an ordinance for removing the 
senate from Moscow to Petersburg, which was 
executed in the month of April, 1712. By this 
step he made liis new city the capital of the em- 
pire, and early he employed a number of Swedish 
prisoners in beautifying this city, whose foun- 
dation had been laid upon their defeat. 


Taking of Stetin. — De8cent upon Fialaod. - -Event 
of the year 1712. i 

TDKTFR, now seeing himself happy in his own 

family, and in his state, and successful in his 

war against Charles XII. and in the several ne- 


gotiations which he had entered into with other 
powers, who were resolved to assist him in driv- 
ing out the Swedes from the continent, and coop- 
ing them up for ever within the narrow isthmus 
of Scandinavia, began to turn his views entirely 
towards the north-west coasts of Kurope, not 
laying aside all thoughts of the Palus iMjeotis, or 
Black Sea. The keys of Azoph, which had been 
so long withheld from the basha, who was to 
have taken possession of that place for the sultan, 
his master, were now given up ; and, notwith- 
standing all the endeavours of the king of 
Sweden, the intrigues of his friends at the Otto- 
man Porte, and even some menaces of a new 
war on the part of the Turks, both that nation 
and the Russian empire continued at peace. 

Charles XII. still obstinate in his resolution 
not to depart from Bender, tamely submitted his 
hopes and fortunes to tke caprice of a grand 
vizier ; while the czar was threatening all his 
provinces, arming against him the king of Den- 
mark, and the elector of Hanover, and had al- 
most persuaded th« king of Prussia, and even 
the Poles and Saxons, to declare openly for 

Charles, ever of the same inflexible disposi- 
tion, behaved in the like manner towards his 
enemies, who now seemed united to overwhelm 
him, as he had done in all his transactions with 
the Ottoman Porte ; and, from his lurking-place 
in the deserts of Bessarabia, defied the czar, the 
kings of Poland, Denmark, and Prussia, the 
elector of Hanover (soon afterwards king of 
England), and the emperor of Germany, whom 
he had so greatly offended, when he was travers- 
ing Silesia with his victorious troops, and who 
now shewed his resentment, by abandoning him 
to bis ill fortune, and refused to take under hia 


protection any of those countries, which as yeC. 
belonged to the Swedes in Germany. 

1711:!.] It would have been no difficult matter 
for him to have broken the league which wai 
forming against him, would he have consented ti 
cede Stetin, in Pomerania, to Frederick (the first!, 
king of Prussia, and elector of Brandenburg 
who had a lawful claim thereto ; but Charles 
did mt then look upon Prussia as a power ot 
any consequence : and indeed neither he, nor 
any other person, could at that time foresee, that 
this petty kingdom, and the electorate of Bran- 
denburg, either of which were little better than de- 
serts, would one day become formidable. Charles 
therefore would not listen to any proposal of ac- 
commodation, but determined rather to stake all 
than to give up any thing, sent orders to the re- 
gency of Stockholm, to make all possible resist- 
ance, both by sea and laud : and these orders 
were obeyed, notwitlistanding that his dominions 
were almost exhausted of men and money. The 
senate of Stockholm fitted out a fleet of thirteen 
ships of the line, and every person capable of 
bearing arms came voluntarily to offer their ser- 
vice : in a word, the inflexible courage and pride 
of Charles seemed to be infused into all his sub- 
jects, who were almost as unfortunate as their 

It can hardly be supposed, that Charles's con- 
duct was formed upon any regular plan. He had 
still a powerful party in Poland, which assisted 
by the Crim i'artars, might indeed have desola- 
ted that wretched country, but could not have re- 
placed Stanislaus on the throne ; and his hope 
of engaging the Ottoman Porte to espouse his 
cause, or convincing the divan that it was their 
interest to send ten or twelve thousand men to 
the assis .ance of his friends, under pretence that 


the was supporting his ally, Augustus, in 
Poland, was vain and chinaericah 

Sep. 171/2.] Nevertheless, he continued still 
at Bender, to wait the issue of these vain pro- 
lects, while the Russians, Danes, and Saxons, 
were overrunning Pomerania. Peter took his 
wife with hiin on this expedition. The king of 
Denmark had already made himself master of 
Stade, a sea-port town in the duchy of Bremen, 
and the united forces of Russia, Saxony, and 
Denmark, were already before Stralsund. 

Oct. 17l'J.] And now king Stanislaus, seeing 
the deplorable state of so many provinces, the 
impossibility of his recovering the crown of Po 
land, and the universal confusion occasioned by 
the inflexibility of Charles, called a meeting ot 
the Swedish generals, who were covering Po- 
merania with an army of eleven thousand men, 
as the last resource they had left in those pro- 

When they were assembled, he proposed to 
them to make their terms with king Augustus, 
offering himself to be the victim of this recon- 
ciliation. On this occasion, he made the follow- 
ing sj)eech to them, in the French language, which 
he afterwards left in writing, and which was 
signed by nine general officers, amongst whom 
happened to be one Patkul, cousin-german to 
the unfortunate Patkul, who lost his life on the 
wheel, by the order of Charles XII. 

' Having been hitherto the instrument of pro- 
curing glory to the Swedish arms, I cannot think 
of proving the cause of their ruin. I therefore 
declare myself ready to sacrifice the crown, and 
my personal interests, to the preservation of the 
sacred person of their king, as I can see no other 
method of releasing him from the place where bo 
now is.' 


Having made this declaration (which is here 
given in his own words), he prepared to set out 
for Turkey, in hopes of being able to soften the 
inflexible temper of his benefactor, by the sacri- 
fice he had made for him. His ill fortune would 
have it, that he arrived in Bessarabia at the very 
time that Charles, after having given his word 
to the sultan, that he would depart from Bender, 
and having received the necessary remittances 
for his journey, and an escort for his person, took 
the raad resolution to continue there, and opposed 
a whole army of Turks and Tartars, with only 
his own domestics. The former, though they 
might easily have killed him, contented them- 
selves with taking him prisoner. At this very 
juncture, Stanislaus arriving, was seized himself; 
80 that two Christian kings were prisoners atone 
time in Turkey. 

At this time, when all Europe was in commo- 
tion, and that France had just terminated a war 
equally fatal against one part thereof, in order to 
settle the grandson of Lewis XIV. on the throne 
of Spain, England gave peace to France, and the 
victory gained by Rlarshal Villars at Denain in 
Flanders, saved that state from its other enemies. 
France had been, for upwards of a century, the 
ally of Sweden, and it was the interest of the 
former, that its ally should not be stript of his 
possessions in Germany. Charles, unhappily, 
was at such a distance from his dominions, that 
he did not even know what was transacting in 

The regency of Stockholm, by a desperate 
effort, ventured to demand a sum of money from 
the French court, at a time when its financea 
were at so low an ebb, that Lewis XIV. had 
hardly money enough to pay bis household ser- 
rants. Count Sparre was sent with a commission 


to negotiate this loan, in which it was not to \ts 
supposed he would succeed. However, on his 
nrrival at Versailles, he represented to the mar- 
quis de Torci the inability of the regency to pay 
the little army which Charles had still remaining 
in Pomerania, and which was ready to break up 
and dispute of itself on account of the long arrears 
due to the znen ; and that France was on the point 
of beholding the only ally she had left, deprived 
of those provinces which were so necessary to 
preserve the balance of power; that indeed his 
master, Charles, had not been altogether so at- 
tentive to the interests of France in the course of 
his conquests as might have been expected, but 
that the magnanimity of Lewis XIV. was at least 
equal to the misfortunes of his royal brother and 
ally. The French minister, in answer to this 
speech, so effectually set forth the incapacity of 
his cosirt to furnish the requested succours, that 
count Sparre despaired of success. 

It so happened, however, that a private in- 
dividual did that which Sparre had lost all hopes 
of obtaining. There was at that time in Paris, a 
banker, named Samuel Bernard, who had ac- 
cumulated an immense fortune by making remit- 
tances for, the government to foreign countries, 
and other private contracts. This man was in- 
toxicated with a species of pride very rarely to 
be met with from people of his profession. He 
was immoderately fond of every thing that made 
an eclat, and knew very well, that one time or 
another the government would repay with interest 
those who hazarded their fortune to supply its 
exigencies. Count Sparre went one day to dine 
with him, and took care to flatter his foible so 
well, that before they rose from table the banker 
put six hundred thousand livres * into his hand ; 
* About fifty thousand poouds sterling. 


and then immediately waiting on the marquis Ae 
Torci, he said to him — ' 1 have lent the crown 
of Sweden six hundred thousand livres in your 
name, which you must repay me when you are 

Count Steinbock, who at that time commanded 
Charles's army in Pomerania, little expected so 
seasonable a supply ; and seeing his troops ready 
to mutiny, to whom he had nothing to give but 
promises, and that tlie storm was gathering fast 
upon him, and being, moreover, apprehensive of 
being surrounded by the three different armies 
of Russia, Denmark, and Saxony, desired a ces- 
sation of arms, on the supposition tliat Stanislaus' 
abdication would soften the obstinacy of ('harles, 
and that the only way left him to save the forces 
under his command, was by spinning out the 
time in negotiations. He therefore dispatched a 
courier to Bender, to represent to the king of 
Sweden the desperate slate of his finances and 
affairs, and the situation of the army, and to ac- 
quaint him that he had under these circumstances, 
found himself necessitated to apply for a cessation 
of arms, which he should think himself very happy 
to obtain. The courier had not been disp itched 
above three days, and Stanislaus was not yet 
set out on his journey to Bender, when Steinbock 
received the six hundred thousand iivres from 
the French banker above-mentioned ; a sum, 
which was at that time an immense treasure in a 
country so desolated. Thus unexpecltdly rein- 
forced with money, which is the grand panacea 
for all disorders of state, Stf inbock found means 
to revive the drooping spirits of his soldiery ; he 
supplied them with all they wanted, raised new 
recruits, and in a short time saw himself at the 
head of twelve thousand men, and dropping his 
former intention of procuring; a suspension ol 


arms, he sought only for an opportunity of en* 

gaging the enemy. 

This 'w as the same Steinbeck, who in the year 
1710, after the defeat of Pultowa, had revenged 
the Swedes on the Danes by the eruption he 
made into Scania, where he marched against and 
engaged them with a few militia, whom he 
had hastily gathered together, with their arms 
elung round them with ropes, and totally defeated 
the enemy. He was, like all the other generals 
of Charles XII. active and enterprising , but his 
valour was sullied by his brutality : as an instance 
of which, it will be suflBcient to relate, that hav- 
ing, after an engagement with the Russians, 
given orders to kill all the prisoners, and per- 
ceiving a Polish officer in the service of the czar, 
who had caught hold on king Stanislaus' stirrup, 
then on horseback, in order to save his life, he, 
Steinbock, shot him dead with his pistol in that 
prince's arms, as has been already mentioned 
in the life of Charles XII. and king Stanislaus 
has declared to the author of this History, that 
had he not been withheld by his respect and 
gratitude to the king of Sweden, he should im- 
mediately have shot Steinbock dead upon the 

Dec. 9, 1712.] General Steinbock now march- 
ed by the way of Wi&mar to meet the combined 
forces of the Russians, Danes, and Saxons, and 
soon found himself near the Danish and Saxon 
army, which was advanced before that of the 
Russians about the distance of three leagues. 
'J he czar sent three couriers, one after another, 
to the k'ing of Denmark, beseeching him to wait 
his coming up, and thereby avoid the danger 
which threatened him, if he attempted to engage 
the Swedes with an equality of force ; but tie 
Danish monarch, not willing to share with any 


cue the honour of a victory which he thought 
■ore, advanced to meet the Swedish general, 
■whom be attacked near a place called Gadebusch. 
This day's affair gave a further proof of the»na- 
tural enmity that subsisted between the Swedes 
and Danes The officers of these two nations 
fought with most unparalleled inveteracy against 
each other, and neither side would desist till 
death terminated the dispute. 

Steinbeck gained a complete victory before the 
Russian army could come up to the assistance of 
the Danes, and the next day received an order 
fnm his master, Charles, to lay aside all thoughts 
of a suspension of arms, who, at the same time, 
upbraided him for having entertained an idea so 
injurious to his honour, and for which he told him 
ae could make no reparation, but by conquering 
or perishing. Steinbockhad happily obviated the 
orders and the reproach by the victory he had 

But this victory was like that which had for- 
merly brought such a transient consolation to king 
Augustus, when in the torrent of his misfortunes 
he gained the battle of Calish against the Swedes, 
who were conquerors in every other place, and 
which only served to aggravate his situation, as 
this of Gadebusch only procrastinated the ruin of 
Steinbock and his army. 

When the king of Sweden received the news of 
Steinbock's success, he looked upon his affairs as 
retrievjed, and even flattered himself with hopes 
to engage the Ottoman Porte to declare for him, 
who at that time seemed disposed to come to a 
new rupture with the czar : full of these fond ima- 
ginations, he sent orders to general Steinbock to 
fall upon Poland, being still ready to believe, 
upon the least shadow of success, that the day of 
Narva, and those in which he gave laws to his 


enemies, were again returned. But unhappily 
he too soon found these flattering hopes ntterly 
blasted by the affair of Bender, and his own cap- 
tivity amongst the Turks. 

The whole fruits of the victory at Gadebusch 
were coufined to the surprising in the night-time, 
and reducing to ashes, the town of Altena, inha- 
bited by traders and manufacturers, a place 
wholly defenceless, and which, not having been 
in arras, ought, by all the laws of war and na- 
tions, to have been spared ; however, it was 
utterly destroyed, several of the inhabitants pe- 
rished in the flames, others escaped with their 
lives, but naked, and a number of old men, wo- 
men, and children, perished with the cold and 
fatigue they suffered, at the gates of Hamburg. 
Such has too often been the fate of several thou- 
sands of men for the quarrels of two only ; and 
this cruel advantage was the only one gained by 
Steinbock ; for the Russians, Danes, and Saxons 
pursued him so closely, that he was obliged to 
beg for an asylum in Toningen, a fortress in the 
duchy of Holstein, for himself and army. 

This duchy was at that time subjected to the 
most cruel ravages of any part of the North, 
and its sovereign was the most miserable of 
all princes. He was nephew to Charles XII. 
and it was on his father's account, who had 
married Charles's sister, that that monarch car- 
ried his arms even into the heart of Copenha- 
gen, before the battle of Narva, and for whom 
he likewise made the treaty of Travendahl, 
by which the dukes of Holstein were restored 
to their rights. 

This country was in part the cradle of the 
Cimbri, and of the old Normans, who overrun 
the province of Neustria, in France, and conquer- 
ed all England, Naples, and Sicily ; and yet, at 


this present time, no state pretends less to make 
conquests than this part of the ancient Cimbrica 
Chersonesus, which consists oniy of two petty 
duchies ; namely, that of Sleswic, belonging in 
common to the king of Denmark and the duke 
of Hoistein, and that of Gottorp, appertaining 
to the duke alone. Sleswic is a sovereign prin- 
cipality ; Hoistein is a branch of the German 
empire, called the Roman empire. 

The king of Denmark, and the duke of Hol- 
stein-Gottorp, were of the same family ; but the 
duke, nephew to Charles XII. and presumptive 
heir to his crown, was the natural enemy of the 
king of Denmark, who had endeavoured to crush 
him in the very cradle. One of his father's bro- 
thers, who was bishop of Lubec, and administra- 
tor of the dominions of his unfortunate ward, now 
beheld himself in the midst of the Swedish army, 
whom he durst not succour, and those of Russia, 
Denmark, and Saxony, that threatened his coun- 
try with daily destruction. Nevertheless, he 
thought himself obliged to try to save Charles's 
army, if he could doit without irritating the king 
of Denmark, who had made himself master of 
his country, which he exhausted, by raising con- 
tinual contributions. 

This bishop and administrator was enlircly 
governed by the famous baron Gortz, the most 
artful and enterprising man of his age, endowed 
with a genius amazingly penetrating, and fruit- 
ful in every resource : with talents ocjual to the 
boldest and most arduous attempts ; he was as 
insinuating in his negotiations as he was liardy 
m his projects ; he had the art of pleasing and 
persuading in the highest degree, and knew liow 
to captivate all hearts by the vivacity of his 
genius, after he had won them by the softness ol 
hia eloquence. He afterwards gained the aama 



ascendant over Charles Xll. which he had then 
over the bishop ; and all the world knows, that 
he paid wilh his life the honour he had of govern- 
ing the most ungovernable and obstinate prince 
that ever sat upon a throne. 

Gortz had a private conference with general 
Steinbock,* at which he promised to deliver him 
up the fortress of Toningen.t without exposing 
the bishop administrator, his master, to any dan- 
ger : and, at the same time, gave the strongest 
assurances to the king of Denmark, that he would 
defend the place to the uttermost. In this man- 
ner are almost all negotiations carried on, affairs 
of state being of a very different nature from those 
of private persons ; the honour of ministers con- 
sisting wholly in success, and those of private 
persons in the observance of their promises. 

General Steinbock presented himself before 
Toningen : the commandant refused to open the 
gates to him, and by this means put it out of the 
king of Denmark's power to allege any cause of 
complaint against the bishop administrator ; but 
Gortz causes an order to be given in the name of 
the young duke, a minor, to suffer the Swedish 
army to enter the town. The secretary of the 
cabinet, named Stamke, signs this order in thci 
name of the duke of Holstein : by this means 
Gortz preserves the honour of an infant who had 
not as yet any power to issue crders; and he at 
once serves the king of Sweden, to whom he was 
desirous to make his court, and the bishop ad- 
ministrator his master, who appeared not to have 
consented to the admission of the Swedish troops. 
The governor of Toningen, who was easily gaic- 

• Private memoirs of Bassowitz, Jan. 21, 1712. 
t A town of Sleswic; in Denmark, situated on the rive: 
E^der, fourteen miles from the German Ocean, haviQR • 
rcry commodious harbour. 


ed, delivered up the town to the Swedes, and 
Gortz excused himself as well as he could to the 
king of Denmark, by protesting that the whole 
had been transacted without his consent. 

The Swedes retired partly within the walls, and 
partly under the cann in of the town : but this 
did not save them : f jr general Steinbock was 
obliged to surrender himself prisoner of war, to- 
gether with his whole army, to the number of 
eleven thousand men, in the same manner as 
about sixteen thousand of their countrymen had 
done at the battle of Pultowa. 

By this convention it was agreed, that Stein- 
bock with his officers and men might be ransomed 
or exchanged. The price for the general's ran- 
som was fixed at eight thousand German crowns ;* 
a very trifling sum, but which Steinbock however 
was not able to raise ; so that he remained 
a prisoner in Copenhagen till the day of his 

The territories of Holstein now remained at 
the mercy of the incensed conqueror. The 
young duke became the object of the king of 
Denmark's vengeance, and was fated to pay for 
the abuse which Gortz had made of his name : 
thus did the ill fortune of Charles Xll. fall upon 
all his family. 

Gortz perceiving his projects thus dissipated, 
and being still resolved to act a disiiiii;ui.>hed 
part in the general confusion of affairs, recalled 
to mind a scheme which he had formed to 
establish a neutrality in the Swedish territories 
in Germany. 

The king of Denmark was ready to t;»ke pos- 
session of I'oningen ; George.ehclor of Hanovcl, 
was about to seize Bremen and Verden, vtiih the 
city of Stade ; the new-made king of Prussia, 
* About twelve tundred paunds sterlmg. 


Frederick William, cast his views upon Stetin, 
and czar P#ter was preparing to make himself 
ma.ster of Finland ; and all the territories of 
Charles XII. those of Sweden excepted, were 
going to become the spoils of those who wanted 
to sh^re them. How then could so many dif- 
ferent interests be rendered compatible with a 
neutrality 1 Gortz entered into negotiation at 
one and the same time with all the several 
princes who had any views in this partition ; he 
continued night and day passing from one pro- 
vince to the other ; he engaged the governor of 
Bremen and Verden to put those two duchies 
into the bands of the elector of Hanover by way 
of sequestration, so that the Danes should not 
take possession of them for themselves : he pre- 
vailed with the king of Prussia to accept jointly 
with the duke of Holstein, of rhe sequestration 
of Stetin and Wismar, in consideration of 
which, the king of Denmark was to act nothing 
against Holstein, and was not to enter Toningen. 
It was most certainly a strange way of serving 
Charles XII. to put his towns into the hands of 
those who might choose if they %vouid ever re- 
store them ; but Gortz, by delivering these places 
to them as pledges, bound them to a neutrality^ 
at least for some time ; and he was in hopes ta 
be able afterwards to bring Hanover and Bran- 
denburg to declare for Sweden : he prevailed 
on the king of Prussia whose ruined dominions 
stood in need of peace, to enter into his views, 
and in short he found means to render himself 
necessary to all these princes, and disposed of 
the possessions of Charles Xll. like a guardian, 
who gives up one part of his ward's estate to 
preserve the other, and of a ward incapable of 
managing his affairs himself ; and all this with- 
out any regular authority or rommission, or othcs 


•warrant for his conduct, than full powprs given 
him by the bishop of Lubec, who had no 
authority to grant such powers from Charles 

Such was the baron de Gortz, and such his 
actions, which have not hitherto been sufficiently 
known. There have been instances of an Oxen- 
stiern, a Richlieu, and an Alberoni, influencing 
the aftairs of all parts of Europe ; but that the 
privy counsellor of a bishop of Lubec should do 
the same as they, without his conduct being 
avowed by any one, is a thing hitherto un- 
heard of. 

June, 1713.] Nevertheless he succeeded to 
his wishes in the beginning ; for he made a 
treaty with the king of Prussia, by which that 
nlonarch engaged, on condition of keeping Stetiu 
in sequestration, to preserve the rest of Pome- 
rania for Charles XII. In virtue of this treaty, 
Gortz ma<le a proposal to the governor of Pome- 
rania, AJeyerfeld, to give up the fortress of 
Stetin to the king of Prussia for the sake of 
peace, thinking that the Swedish governor of 
Stetin would prove as easy to be persuaded as 
the Holsteiner who had the command of Tonin- 
gen ; but the officers of Charles XII. were not 
accustomed to obey such orders. IVleyerfeld 
made answer, that no one should enter Stetin 
but over his dead body and the ruins of the 
place, and immediately sent notice to his master 
of the strange proposal. The messenger at bis 
arrival found Charles prisoner at Uemirlash, in 
consequence of his adventure at Mender, and it 
was doubtful, at that time, whether he would 
not remain all his life in confmement in Turkey, 
or else be banished to some of the islands in the 
Archipelago, or some part of Asia under the 
dominion of the Ottoman Porte. Howovor 


Charles from his prison sent the same orders to 
Meyerfeld, as he had before done to Steinbock ; 
namely, rather to perish than to submit to his 
enemies, and even commanded him to take his 
inflexibility for his example. 

Gortz, finding that the governor of Stetin had 
broke in upon his measures, and would neither 
hearken to a neutrality nor a sequestration, took 
it into bis head, not only to sequester the town 
of Stetin of his own authority, but also the city 
of Stralsund, and found means to make the 
same kind of treaty (June, 1713,) with the king 
of Poland, elector of Saxony, for that place, 
which he had done with the elector of Branden- 
burg for Stetin. He clearly saw how impossible 
it would be for the Swedes to keep possession 
of those places without either men or money, 
while their king was a captive in Turkey, and he 
thought himself sure of turning aside the scourge 
of war from the North by means of these se- 
questrations. The king of Denmark himself at 
length gave into the projects of Gortz : the latter 
had gained an entire ascendant over prince 
Menzikoff, the czar's general and favourite, 
whom he had persuaded that the duchy of 
Holstein must be ceded to his master, and 
flattered the czar with the prospect of opening 
a canal from Holstein into the Baltic Sea ; an 
enterprise perfectly conformable to the inclina- 
tion and views of this royal founder : and, above 
all, he laboured to insinuate to him, that he 
might obtain a new increase of power, by con- 
descending to become one of the powers of the 
empire, which would entitle him to a vote in the 
diet of Ratisbon, a right that he might afterwards 
for ever maintain by that of arms. 

In a word, no one could put on more different 
appearances, adapt himself to more opposite 


interests, or act a more complicated part, than 
did this skilful negotiator ; he even went so far 
as to engage prince Menzikoff to ruin the very 
town of Stetin, which he was endeavouring to 
save ; and in which, at length, to his misfortune, 
be succeeded but too well. 

When the king of Prussia saw a Russian army 
before Stetin, he found that place would be lost 
to him, and remain in the possession of the 
czar. This was just what Gortz expected and 
waited for. Prince IMenzikoff was in want cJ. 
money ; Gortz got the king of Prussia to lend 
him four hundred thousand crowns : he after- 
wards sent a message to the governor of the 
place, to know of him — whether he would rather 
choose to see Stetin in ashes, and under the 
dominion of Russia, or to trust it in the hands 
of the king of Prussia, who would engage to 
restore it to the king, his master '' — The com- 
mandant at length suffered himself to be per- 
suaded, and gave up the place, which iMenzi- 
kofF entered ; and, in consideration of the four 
hundred thousand crowns, delivered it after- 
wards, together with all the territories thereto 
adjoining, into the hands of the king of Prussia, 
who, for form's sake, left therein two battalions 
of the troops of Holstein, and has never since 
restored that part of Pomerania. 

From this period, the second king of Prussia, 
successor to a weak and prodigal father, laid the 
foundation of that greatness, to which his state 
has since arrived by military discipline and 

The baron de Gortz, who put so many springn 
iu motion, could not, however, succeed in pre- 
vailing on the Danes to spare the duchy o( 
Holstein, or forbear taking possession of Tonin- 
geb. He failed in what appeared to have been 


his first object, though he succeeded in all hia 
Other views, and particularly in that of making 
himself the most important personage of the 
North, which, indeed, was his principal object. 
The elector of Hanover then had secured to 
Himself Bremen and Verden. of which Charles 
XII. was now stripped. The Saxon army was 
aefore Wismar (Sept. 1715); Steiin was in the 
hands of the king of Prussia ; the Russians were 
"eady to lay siege to Straisund, in conjunction 
with the Saxons ; and these latter had already 
landed in the island of Rugen, and the czar, in 
the midst of the numberless negotiations on all 
sides, while others were disputing about neu- 
tralities and partitions, makes a descent upon 
Finland. After having himself pointed the artil- 
lery against Straisund, he left the rest to the care 
of his allies and prince Menzikoff, and, embark- 
ing in the month of May, on the Baltic Sea, en 
board a ship of fifty guns, which he himself caused 
to be built at Petersburg, he sailed for the coast 
of Finland, followed by a fleet of nmety-two 
whole, and one hundred and ten half-gallies, 
having on board near sixteen thousand troops. 
He made his descent at Elsingford, (May 2^. 
N. S. 1713.) the most southern part of that cold 
and barren country. lying in 61 degrees north la- 
titude ; and, notwithstanding the numberless dif- 
ficulties he had to encounter, succeeded in his 
design. He caused a feint attack to be made on 
one side of the harbour, while he landed his 
troops on the other, and took possession of the 
town. He then made himself master of Abo, 
Borgo, and the whole coast. The Swedes now 
seemed not to have one resource left ; for it was 
at this very time, that their army, under the 
command of general Steinbock, was obliged to 
mrreader prisoners of war at Toningen, 


These repeated disasters which bt'ft-l Charley, 
were, as we have already sliewn, followed by tlie 
loss of Bremen, Verdeu, Stelin, and a part of 
Pomerania ; and that prince himself, with his 
ally and friend, Stanislaus, were afterwards both 
prisoners in Turkey : nevertheless, he was 6ot to 
be undeceived in the flattering notion he had en- 
tertained of returning to Poland, at the head of 
an Ottoman army, replacing Stanislaus on the 
throne, and once again making his enemies 


Saocessta of Peter the Great.— Return of Charles XII. 
into bU own dominioDS, 

"pETER, while he was following the 
course of his conquests, completed 
the establishment of his navy, brought twelve 
thousand families to settle in Petersburg, kept al. 
his allies firm to his person and fortunes, not • 
withstanding they bad all different interests and 
opposite views ; and with his fleet kept in awe 
all the sea-ports of Sweden, on the gulfs of Fin- 
land and Bothnia. 

Prince Galitzin, one of his land-generals, whom 
he had formed himself, as he had done all his 
other officers, advanced from Elsingford, where 
the czar had made his descent, into the midst of 
the country, near the village of Tavasthus, which 
was a post that commanded the gulf of Both- 
nia, and was defended by a few Swedish regi- 
ments, and about eight thousand militia. Id 
this situation, a battle was unavoidable. (Mar. 1."j, 
1714.) the event of which proved favourable to 
die Russians, who entirely routed the whole 


Swedish army, aud penetrated as far as Vaza 
so that they were now masters of about eighty 
leagues of country. 

The Swedes were still in possession of a fleet, 
with which they kept the sea. Peter had, for 
a considerable time, waited with impatience for 
an opportunity of establishing the reputation of 
his new marine. Accordingly he set out from 
Petersburg, and having got together a fleet of 
sixteen ships of the line, and one hundred and 
eighty galleys, fit for working among the rocks 
and shoals that surround the island of Aland, 
and the other islands in the Baltic Sea, border- 
ing upon the Swedish coast, he fell in with the 
fleet of that nation near their own shores. This 
armament greatly exceeded his in the largeness 
of the ships, but was inferior in the number of 
galleys, and more proper for engaging in the 
open sea, than among rocks, or near the shore, 
'i he advantage the czar had in this respect was 
entirely owing to himself: he served in the rank 
of rear-admiral on board his own fleet, and re- 
ceived all the necessary orders from admiral 
Apraxin. Peter resolved to make himself mas- 
ter of the island of Aland, which lies only twelve 
leagues oiF the Swedish coast; and, though 
obliged to pass full in view of the enemy's fleet, 
he effected this bold and hazardous enterprise. 
His galleys forced a passage through the enemy, 
whose cannon did not fire low enough to hurt 
them, and entered Aland ; but as that coast ie 
almost surrounded with rocks, the czar caused 
eighty small galleys to be transported by men 
over a point of land, and launched into the sea, 
at a place called Hango, where his large ships 
were at anchor. Erenschild, the Swedish rear- 
admiral, thinking that he might easily take or 
sink all these galleys, stood in shore, in order to 


reconnoitre iheir situation, but was received with 
80 brisk a fire from the Russian fleet, that most 
of his men were killed or wounded ; and all the 
galleys and praams he had brought with him 
•were taken, together with his own ship. (Aug. 8.) 
The admiral himself endeavoured to escape iu a 
boat, but being wounded, was obliged to sur- 
render himself prisoner, and was brought on 
board the galley where the czar was, navigating 
it himself. The scattered remainsof the Swedish 
fleet made the best of their way home ; and the 
news of this accident threw all Stockholm into 
confusion, which now began to tremble for its 
own safety. 

Much about the same time, colonel Scouvalow 
Neuschlof attacked the only remaining fortress 
on the western side of Finland, and made him- 
self master of it, after a most obstinate resistance 
on the part of the besieged. 

This affair of Aland was, next to that of Pul- 
towa, the most glorious that had ever befallen 
the arms of Peter the Great, who now saw him- 
self master of Finland, the government of which 
he committed to prince Galitzin, and retuined u\ 
Petersburg (Sept. 15.)', victorious over the whole 
naval force of Sweden, and more than ever re- 
spected by his allies; the stormy season now 
approaching, not permitting him to remain longer 
with his ships in the Finlandish and Bothnic seas. 
His good fortune also brought him back to his 
capital, just as the czarina was brought to bed of 
a princess, who died, however, about a year 
afterwards. He then instituted the order of St. 
Catherine, in honour of his consort,* and cele- 

• In the preamble lo this institution, the czar declared, 
that it was to perpetuate the memory of her love in bia 
distresaed condition on the banks of the river Pruth. He 


brated the birth of his daughter by a triumphal 
entry, which was of all the festivals w which he 
had accustomed his subjects, that which they 
held in the greatesc esteem. This ceremony was 
ushered in by bringing nice Swedish galleys, and 
seven praams filled with prisoners, and rear-ad- 
miral Erenscbild's own ship, into the harbour of 

The cannon, colours, and standards, taken 
in the expedition to Finland, and which had 
come home in the Russian admiral's ship, were 
brought on this occasion to Petersburg, and en- 
tered that metropolis in order of battle. A 
triumphal arch, which the czar had caused to be 
erected, and which, as usual, was made from a 
model of his own, was decorated with the insig- 
nia of his conquests. Under this arch the victors 
marched in procession, with admiral Apraxin, at 
their head ; then followed the czar in quality of 
rear-admiral, and the other officers according to 
their several ranks. They were all presented 
one after another to the vice-admiral Rodamo- 
noski, who, at this ceremony represented the 
sovereign. This temporary vice-emperor dis- 
tributed gold medals amongst all the officers, and 
others of silver to the soldiers and sailors. The 
Swedish prisoners likewise passed under the 
triumphal arch, and admiral Erenschild followed 
immediately after the czar, his conqueror. When 
they came to the place where the vice-czar was 
seated on his throne, admiral Apraxin presented 
to him rear-admiral Peter, who demanded to be 

invested her with full power to bestow it oti such of her 
own sex as she should think proper. The ensigns of 
this order are, a broad white riband, and wore over the 
right shoulder, with a medal of St. Catherine, adorned 
with precious stones, and the motto, ' Out of love and 


made vice-admiral, in reward for his services. 
It was then put to the vote, if his request should 
be granted ; and it may easily be conceived that 
he had the majority on his side. 

After this ceremony was over, which filled every 
heart with joy, and inspired every mind with 
emulation, with a love for his country, arfti a thirst 
of fame, the czar made the following speech to 
those present : a speech which deserves to be 
transmitted to the latest postesity. 

' Countrymen and friends ! what man is there 
among you, who could have thought, twenty years 
ago, that we should one day fight together on the 
Baltic Sea, in ships built by our own hands ; and 
that we should establish settlements in countries 
conquered by our own labours and valour? — 
Greece is said to have been the ancient seat of 
the arts and sciences: they afterwards took up 
their abode in Italy, from whence they spread 
themselves through every part of Europe. It is 
now our turn to call them ours, if you will second 
my designs, by joiniii^j study to obedience. The 
arts circulat* in this globe, as the blood does in 
the human body ; and perhaps they may establish 
their empire amongst us, on their return back to 
Greece, their mother country ; and I even venture 
to hope, that we may one day put the most civi- 
lized nations to the blush, by our noble labours 
and the solid glory resulting therefrom.' 

Here is the true substance of this speech, so 
every way worthy of a great founder, and which 
has lost its chief beauties in this, and every other 
translation ; but the principal merit of this elo- 
quent harangue is, its having been spoken by a 
Tictorious monarch, at once the founder and law- 
giver of his empire. 

The old boyards listened to this speech with 
grcp/^r regret for the abolition of their ancient 


customs, than admiration of their master's glory j 
but the young ones could not hear him without 
tears of joy. 

The splendour of these times were further 
heightened by the return of the Russian ambas- 
sadors from Constantinople, (Sept. 15, 1714.) 
with a confirmation of the peace with the Turks : 
an ambassador sent by Sha Hussein from Persia, 
had arrived some time before witb a present to 
the czar of an elephant and five lions. He re- 
ceived, at the same time, an ambassador from 
IMahomet Bahadir, khan of the Usbeck lartars, 
requesting his protection against another tribe of 
Tartars ; so that both extremities of Asia and 
Europe seemed to join to offer him homage, and 
add to his glory. 

The regency of Stockholm, driven to despaii 
by the desperate situation of their affairs, and the 
absence of their sovereign, who seemed to have 
abandoned his dominions, had come to a resolu- 
tion no more to consult him in relation to their 
proceedings ; and, immediately after the victory 
the czar gained over their navy, they sent to the 
conqueror to demand a passport, for an officer 
charged with proposals of peace. The passport 
was sent ; but. just as the person appointed to 
carry on the negotiation was on the point of set- 
ting out. the princess Ulrica Eleonora, sister to 
Charles XII. received advice from the king her 
brother, that he was preparing, at length, to quit 
Turkey, and return home to fight liis own battles. 
Upon this news the regency did not dare to send 
the negotiator (whom they had already privately 
named) to the czar ; and, therefore, resolved to 
support their ill-fortune till the arrival of Charles 
to retrieve it. 

In effect, Charles, after a stay of five years and 
some months in Turkey, set out from that King- 


dom in the latter end of October, 1714. Every 
one knows that he observed the same siuguiaritv 
in his journey, wHlch characterized all the actions 
of his life. He arrived at Stralsund itn '■22d of 
November following. As soon as he got there, 
baron de Gortz came to pay his court to him ; 
and, though he had been the instrument of one 
part of his misfortunes, yet he justified his con- 
duct with so much art, and filled the imagination 
of Charles with such flattering hopes, that he 
gained his confidence, as he had already done that 
of every other minister and prince with whom he 
had entered into any negotiations. In short, he 
made him believe, that means might be found to 
draw off the czar's allies, and thereby procure an 
honourable peace, or at least to carry on the vear 
upon an equal footing ; and from this time Gortz 
gained a greater ascendancy over the mind of the 
king of Sweden than ever count Piper had. 

The first thing which Charles did after his arri- 
val at Stralsund was to demand a supply of money 
from the citizens of Stockholm, who readily parted 
with what little they had left, as not being able 
to refuse any thing to a king, who asked only to 
bestow, who lived as hard as the meanest soldier, 
and exposed his life equally in defence of his 
country. His misfortunes, his captivity, his re- 
turn to his dominions, so long deprived of his 
presence, were arguments which prepossessed 
alike his own subjects and foreigners in his fa- 
vour, who could not forbear at once to blame and 
admire, to compassionate and to assist him. His 
reputation was of a kind totally diflfering from that 
of Peter the Great : it consisted not in cherishing 
the arts and sciences, in enacting laws, in esta- 
blishing a form of government, nor in introducing 
commerce among his subjects ; it was confined 
entirely to his own person. He placed bis chief 


merit in a valour supcri-^r to what is coirjnoiily 
called courage. Hs detendedl^ dominions ■with 
a greatness of soal equal to that \alour, and 
aimed only to inspire other nations with awe and 
respect for him : hence he had more partizans 
than allies. 


State of Europe at the return of Charles ^I. 
Siege of Stralsund. 

"Wi^HEN Charles XII. returned to his dominions 
in the year 1714, he found the state of af- 
fairs in Europe very diflferent from that in which 
he had left them. Queen Anne of England was 
dead, after having made peace with France. 
Lewis XIV. had secured the monarchy of Spain 
for his grandson the duke of Anjou, and had 
obliged the emperor Charles VI. and the Dutct 
to agree to a peace, which their situation rendered 
necessary to them ; so that the affairs of Europe 
bad put on altogether a new face. 

Those of the north had undergone a still greater 
change. Peter was become sole arbiter in that 
part of the world : the elector of Hanover, who 
had been called to fill the British throne, had 
views of extending his territories in Germany, at 
the expense of Sweden, who had never had any 
possessions ia that country, but since the reign of 
the great G ustavus. The king of Denmark aimed 
at recovering Scania, the best province of Swedei:, 
which had formerly belonged to the Danes. The 
king of Prussia, as heir to the dukes of Pome- 
rania, laid claim to a part of thar province. On 
the other hand, the Holstein family, oppressed 
Dy the king of Denmark, and the duke of Meek- 


Icnburg, almost at open war with his subjects, 
v\-ere suin-^ to Peter the Great to take them under 
his protection. The king of Poland, elector of 
Saxony, was desirous to have the duchy of Cour- 
land annexed to Poland ; so that, from the Elbe 
to the Baltic Sea, Peter the First was considered 
as the support of the several crowned heads, as 
Charles XII. had been their greatest terror. 

Many negotiations were set on foot after the 
leturn of Charles to his dominions, but nothing 
had been done. That prince thought he could 
raise a sufiBcient number of ships of war and pri- 
vateers, to put a stop to the rising power of the 
czar by sea ; with respect to the land war, he de- 
pended upon his own valour ; and Gortz, who 
was on a sudden become his prime minister, 
persuaded him, that he might find means to de- 
fray the expense, by coining copper money, to 
be taken at ninety six limes less than its real 
value, a tKing unparalleled in the histories of 
any state ; but in the month of April, 1715, the 
v^ first Swedish privateers that put to sea were 
taken by the czar's men of war, and a Russian 
army marched into the heart of Pomeratfia. 

'Ihe Prussians, Danes, and Saxons, now sat 
down with their united forces before Stralsund, 
and Charles XII. beheld himself returned from 
his confinement at Demirtash and Demirtoca on 
the Black Sea, only to be more closely pent up 
on the borders of the Baltic. 

*\Ve have already shewn, in the histor)' of this 
extraordinary man, with what haughty and un- 
embarrassed resolution he braved the united 
forces of his enemies in Stralsund ; and shall 
therefore, in this place, only add a single circum- 
stance, which, though trivial, may serve to shew 
the peculiarity of his characte •. The greatest 
part of his officers having beer either killed or 


wounded during the siege, the duty fell bard 
upon the few who were left. Baron de Reichel, 
a colonel, having sustained a long engagement 
upon the ramparts, and being tired out by re- 
peated watchings and fatigues, had thrown him- 
self upon a bench to take a little repose ; when 
he was called up to mount guard again upon the 
ramparts. As he was dragging himself along, 
hardly able to stand, and cursing the obstinacy 
of the king his master, who subjected all those 
about him to' such insufferable and fruitless fa- 
tigues, Charles happened to overhear him. Upon 
which, stripping off his own cloak, he spread it 
on the ground before him, saving, ' My dear 
Reichel, you are quite spent : come, I have had 
an hour's sleep, which has refreshed me, I'll take 
the guard for you, while you finish your nap, and 
will wake you when I thick it is time ;' and so 
saying, he wrapt the colonel up in his cloak ; and, 
notwithstanding all his resistance, obliged him to 
lie down to sleep, and mounted the guard himself. 

It was during this siege that the elector of 
Hanover, latel v made king of England, purchased 
of the king of Denmark the province of Bremen 
and Verden, with the city of Stade. (Oct. 1715.) 
which the Danes had taken from Charles XII. 
This purchase cost king George eight hundred 
thousand German crowns. In this manner were 
the dominions of Charles bartered away, while 
he defended the city of Stralsund, inch by inch, 
till at length nothing was left of it but a heap of 
niins, which his officers compelled him to leave ; 
(Dec. 1713.) and, when he was in a place of 
safety, general Ducker delivered up those ruins 
to the king of Prussia. 

Some time afterwards, Ducker, being presented 
to Charles, that monarch reproached him with 
having capitulated with his enemies ; whee 


Ducker replied, ' I had too great a regard for 
your majesty's honour, to continue to defend a 
place which you was obliged to leave.' How- 
ever the Prussians continued in possession of it 
no longer than the year 1721, when ttey gave it 
up at the general peace. 

During the siege of Stralsund, Charles received 
another mortification, which would have been 
still more severe, if his heart had been as sensi- 
ble to the emotions of friendship, as it was to 
those of fame and honour. His prime minister, 
count Piper, a man famous throughout all Europe, 
and of unshaken fidelity to his prince (notwith- 
standing the assertions of certain rash persons, 
or the authority of a mistaken writer) : this Piper, 
I say, had been the victim of his master's am- 
bitiou ever since the battle of Pultowa. As there 
was as that time no cartel for the exchange of 
prisoners subsisting between the Russians and 
Swedes, he had remained in confinemect at 
Moscow , and though he had not been sent into 
Siberia, as t-he other prisoners were, yet his situ- 
ation was greatly to be pitied. The czar's finances 
at that time were not managed with so much 
fidelity as they ought to be, and his many new 
establishments required an expense which he 
could with difiiculty answer. In particular, he 
owed a considerable sum of money to the Dutch, 
on account of two of their merchant-ships which 
had been burnt on the coast of Finland, in the 
descent the czar had made on that country. Peter 
pretended that the Swedes were to make good 
the damage, and wanted to engage count Piper 
to charge himself with this debt : accordingly he 
was sent for from Moscow to Petersburg, and his 
liberty was offered him, in case he could draw 
upon Sweden letters of exchange to the amount 
of sixty thousand crowns. It is said he actually 


did draw b.lls for this sum upon his wife at Stock 
holm, but that she being unable or unwilling to 
take them up, they were returned, and the king 
of Sweden never gave himself the least concern 
about paying the money. Be this as it may, count 
Piper was closely confined in the castle of Schlus- 
selburg, where he died the year after, at the age 
of seventy. His remains were sent to the king 
of Sweden, who gave them a magnificent burial ; 
a vain and melancholy return to an old servant, 
for a life of suffering, and so deplorable an end ! 

Peter was satisfied with having got possession 
of Livonia, Esthonia, Carelia, and Ingria, which 
he looked upon as his own provinces, and to 
■which he had, moreover, added almost all Fin- 
land, which served as a kind of pledge, in case 
his enemies should conclude a peace. He had 
married one of his nieces to Charles Leopold, 
duke of Mecklenburg, in the month of .April of 
the same year, (1715.) so that all the sovereigns 
of the north were now either his allies or his 
creatures. In Poland, he kept the enemies of 
king Augustus in awe; one of his armies, con- 
sisting of about eight thousand men, having, 
without any loss, quelled several of those con- 
federacies, which are so frequent in that country 
of liberty and anarchy : on the other hand, the 
Turks, by strictly observing their treaties, left 
him at full liberty to exert his power, and execute 
his schemes in their utmost extent. 

In this flourishing situation of his affairs, scarcely 
a day passed without being distinguished by new 
establishments, either in the navy, the army, or 
the legislature : he himself composed a military 
code for the infantry. 

Nov 8] He likewise founded a naval academy 
at Petersburg ; dispatched Lange to Chma and 
Siberia, with a commission of trade ; set mathe- 


maticians fo work, in drawing charts of the 
whole empire ; built a summer's palace at Peters- 
hoflF ; and at the same time built forts on the 
banks of the Irtish, stopped the incursions and 
ravages of the Bukari * on the one side, and, on 
the rther, suppressed the Tartars of Kouban. 

iri5.] His prosperity seemed now to be at its 
zenith, by the empress Catherine's being de- 
livered of a son, and an heir to his dominions 
being given him, in a prince born to the czarovvitz 
Alexis ; but the joy for these happy events, which 
fell out within a few days of each otlier, was 
soon damped by the death of the empress's son; 
and the sequel of this history will shew us, that 
the fate of the czarowitz was too unfortunate, for 
the birth of a son to this prince to be looked upon 
as a happiness. 

The delivery of the czarina put a stop for some 
time to her accompanying, as usual, her royal 
consort in all his expeditions by sea and land ; 
but, as soon as she was up again, she followed 
bim to new adventures. 


New travels of the czar. 

"'^T^ISIMAR was at this time besieged by the 
czar's allies. This town, ivhich belonged 
of right to the duke of Mecklenburg, is situated 
on the Baltic, about seven leagues distant from 
Lubec, and might have rivalled that city in its 
extensive trade, being once one of the most con- 
siderable of the Hans Towns, and the duke of 
Mecklenburg exercised therein a full power of 

• Inhnbitantsnf a fiuiall town oflluncrarian Dalmatia« 
with a harbour, from wlience llio neighbouring sea take^ 
the name of Golfo di Hickanna. 


protection, rather than of sovereignty. This was 
one of the German territories yet remaining to 
the Swedes, in virtue of the peace of Westphalia : 
but it was now obliged to share the same fate 
with Stralsund. The allies of the czar pushed 
the siege with the greatest vigour, in order to 
make themselves masters of it before that prince's 
troops should arrive ; but Peter himself coming 
before the place in person, after the capitulation. 
(Feb. 1716,) which had been made without his 
privacy, made the garrison prisoners of war. He 
was not a little incensed, that his allies should 
have left the king of Denmark in possession of a 
town which was the right of a prince, who had 
married his niece ; and his resentment on this 
occasion (which that artful minister, de Gortz, 
soon after turned to his own advantage) laid the 
first foundation of the peace, which he meditated 
to bring about between the czar and Charles XII. 

Gortz took the first opportunity to insinuate 
to the czar, that Sweden was sutiiciently humbled, 
and that he should be careful not to suffer Den- 
mark and Prussia to become too powerful. The 
czar joined in opinion with him, and as he had 
entered into the war, merely from motives of 
policy, whilst Charles carried it on wholly on the 
principles of a warrior ; he, from that instant, 
slackened in his operations against the Swedes, 
and Charles, every where unfortunate in Ger- 
many, determined to risk one of those desperate 
gtrokes which success only can justify, and car- 
ried the war into Norway. 

In the meantime, Peter was desirous to make 
a second tour through Europe. He had under- 
taken his first, as a person who travelled for in- 
struction in the arts and sciences : but this second 
he made as a prince, who wanted to dive into the 
secrets of the several courts. He took the czarina 


with him to CopenLigen, Lubec, Schwerin, and 
Nystadt. He had an interview with the kin.; of 
Prussia at the little town of Aversborg, from 
thence he and the empress went to Hamburg, arid 
to Altena, which had been burned by the Swedes. 
and which they caused to be rebuilt. Descend- 
ing the Elbe as far as ^tade, they passed throuj^h 
Bremen, where the magistrates prepared a firt- 
work and illuminations for them, which formed, 
in a hundred diflfc>reat places, these words — ' Our 
deliverer is come amongst us.' At length he ar- 
rived once more at Amsterdam, (Dec. 17, 1716,) 
and visited the little hut at Saardam, where he 
had first learned the art of ship-building, about 
eighteen years before, and found his old dwelling 
converted into a handsome and commodious 
house, which is still to be seen, and goes by the 
name of the Prince's House. 

It may easily be conceived, with what a kind 
of idolatry he was received by a trading and sea- 
faring set of people, whose companion he had 
heretofore been, and who thought they saw in the 
conqueror of Pultowa, a pupil who had learned 
from them to gain naval victories ; and had, after 
their example, established trade and navigation 
in his own dominions. In a word, they looked 
upon him as a fellow-citizen, who had been 
raised to the imperial dignity. 

The life, the travels, the actions of Peter the 
Great, as well as of his rival, Charles of Sweden, 
exhibit a surprising contrast to the manners which 
prevail amongst us, and which are, perhaps, 
rather too delicate ; and this may be one reason, 
that the history of these two famous men so much 
excites our curiosity. 

The czarina had been left behind at Schwerin 
indisposed, being greatly advanced in hei preg- 
nancy ; nevertheless, as soon as she was able to 


travel, she set out to join the czar in Holland., 
but -was taken in labour at Wesel, and there de- 
livered of a prince, (Jan. 14, 1717.) who lived 
but one day. It is not customary \\-ith us for a 
lying-in-woman to stir abroad for some time ; 
but the czarina s^t out, and arrived at Amsterdam 
in ten days after her labour. She was very de- 
sirous to see the little cabin her husband Lad 
lived and worked in. Accordingly, she and the 
czar went together, without any state or attend- 
ance, excepting only two servants, and dined at 
the house of a rich shipbuilder of Saardam, whose 
name was Kalf, and who was one of the first who 
had traded to Petersburg. His son had lately 
arrived from France, whither Peter was going. 
The czar and czarina took great pleasure in hear- 
ing an adventure of this young man, which 1 
should not mention here, only as it may serve to 
shew the great difference between the manners 
of that country and ours. 

Old Kalf, who had sent this son of his to Paris, 
to learn the French tongue, was desirous that he 
should live in a genteel manner during his stay 
there ; and accordingly had ordered him to lay 
aside the plain garb which the inhabitants of 
Saardam are in general accustomed to wear, and 
to provide himself with fashionable clothes at 
Paris, and to live, in a manner, rather suitable 
to his fortune than his education ; being safl5- 
ciently well acquainted with his son's disposition 
to know, that this indulgence would have no bad 
effect on his natural frugality and sobriety. 

As a calf is in the French language called 
veau, our young traveller, when he arrived at 
Paris, took the name of De Veau. He lived iu 
a splendid manner, spent his money freely, and 
made several genteel connexions. Nothing is 
more common at Paris, than to bestow, without 


reserve, the title of count and marquis, whether 
a person has any claim to it or not, or even if he 
is barely a gentleman. This absurd practice has 
been allowed by the government, in order that, 
by thus confounding all ranks, and consequently 
humbling the nobility, there might be less danger 
of civil wars, which, in former times, were so 
frequent and destructive to the peace of the state. 
In a word, the title of marquis and count, with 
possessions equivalent to that dignity, are like 
those of knight, without being of any order ; or 
abb6, without any church preferment ; of no con- 
sequence, and not looked upon by the sensible 
part of the nation. 

Young Mr. Kalf was always called the count 
de Veau by his acquaintance and his own ser- 
vants : he frequently made one in the parties of 
the princesses ; he played at the duchess of 
Berri's, and few strangers were treated with 
greater marks of distinction, or had more general 
invitations among polite company. A young 
nobleman, who had been always one of his com- 
panions in these parties, promised to pay him a 
visit at Saardam, and was as good as his word : 
when he arrived at the village, he inquired for 
the house of count Kalf; when, being shewn into 
a carpenter's work-shop, he there saw his former 
gay companion, the young count, dressed in a 
jacket and trowsers, after the Dutch fashion, 
with an axe in his hand, at the head of his father's 
workmen. Here he was received by his friend, 
in that plain manner to which he had been ac- 
customed from his birth, and from which he never 
deviated. The sensible reader will forgive this 
little digression, as it is a satire on vanity, and a 
jianegyric on true manners. 

The czar continued three months in Holland, 
during which he passed his time in matters of a 


more serious nature than the adventure just re- 
lated. Since the treaties of Nimeguen, Ryswic 
and Utrecht, the Hague had preserved the repu- 
tation of being the centre of negotiations in Eu- 
rope. This little city, or rather village, the most 
pleasant of any in the North, is chiefly inhabited 
by foreign ministers, and by travellers, who corae 
for instruction to this great school. They were, 
at that time, laying the foundation of a great re- 
volution in Europe. The czar, having gotten 
^intelligence of the approaching storm, prolonged 
his stay in the Low Countries, that he might be 
nearer at hand, to observe the machinations going 
forward, both in the North and South, and pre- 
pare himself for the part which it might be ne- 
cessary for him to act therein. 


Continuation of the Travels of Peter the Great. — Con- 
spiracy of baron Gortz. — Reception of the czar in 

XJE plainly saw that his allies were jealous of 
his power, and found that there is often more 
trouble with friends than with enemies. 

Mecklenburg was one of the principal subjects 
of those divisions, which almost always subsist 
between neighbouring princes, who share in con- 
quests. Peter was not willing that the Danes 
should take possession of Wismar for themselves, 
and still less that they should demolish the for- 
tifications, and yet they did both the one and the 

He openly protected the duke of Mecklenburg, 
who had married his niece, and whom he re- 
garded like a son-in-law, against the nobility of 
the country, and the king of England as openly 


protected these latter. On the other hand, he 
was greatly discontented with the king of Poland, 
or rather with his minister, count Flemming, who 
wanted to throw off that dependance on the czar, 
which necessity and gratitude had imposed. 

The courts of England, Poland, Denmark, 
Holstein, Mecklenburg, and Brandenburg, were 
severally agitated with intrigues and cabals. 

Towards the end of the year 1716, and begin- 
ning of 1717, Gortz, who, as Bassewitz tells us 
in his Memoirs, was weary of having only the 
title of counsellor of Holstein, and being only 
private plenipotentiary to Charles XII. was the 
chief promoter of these intrigues, with which he 
intended to disturb the peace of all Europe. His 
design was to bring Charles XII. and the czar 
together, not only with a view to finish the war 
between them, but to unite them in friendship, 
to replace Stanislaus on the crown of Poland, 
and to wrest Bremen and Verden out of the 
hands of George I., king of England, and even 
to drive that prince from the English throne, in 
order to put it out of his power to appropriate to 
himself any part of the spoils of Charles XII. 

There was at the same time a minister of his 
own character, who had formed a design to over- 
^vrn the two kingdoms of England and France : 
this was cardinal Alberoni, who had more power 
at that time in Spain, (ban Gortz had in Swe- 
den, and was of as bold and enterprising a spirit 
as himself, but much more powerful, as being at 
the head of affairs in a kingdom infinitely more 
rich, and never paid his creatures and deuendants 
in copper money. 

Gortz, from the borders of the Baltic Sea, 
poon formed a connexion with Alberoni in Spain. 
The cardinal and he both held a correspondence 
with ail the wandering English who were in the 


interest of the house of Stuart. Gortz made 
visits to every place where he thought he was 
likely to find any enemies of king George, and 
went successively to Germany, Holland, Flan- 
ders, and Lorrain, and at length came to Paris, 
about the end of the year 1716. Cardinal Albe- 
roni began, by remitting to him in Paris a mil- 
lion of French livres, in ord^er (tc use the cardi- 
nal's expression) to set fire to the train. 

Gortz proposed, that Charles XII. should 
yield up several pla:^es to the czar, in order to 
be in a condition to recover all the others from 
his enemies, and that he might be at liberty to 
make a descent in Scotland, while the partisans 
of the Stuart family should make an effectual 
rising in England : after their form^ r vain at- 
tempts to effect these views, it was necessary to 
deprive the king of England of his chief sup- 
port, which at that time was the regent of France. 
It was certainly very extraordinary, to see 
France in league with England, against the 
grandson of Lewis XIV., whom she herself had 
placed on the throne of Spain, at the expence of 
her blood and treasure, notwithstanding the 
strong confederacy formed to oppose him ; but 
it must be considered, that every thing was now 
out of its natural order, and the interests of the 
regent not those of the kingdom. Alberoni, at 
that time, was carrying on a confederacy in 
France against this very regent.* And the 

• The conspiracy carried on in France by cardinal 
Alberoni, was discovered in a xery singular manner. 
The Spanish ambassador's secretary, who used frequently 
to go to the house of one La FoUon, a famous procures* 
of Paris, to amuse himself for an hour or two after the 
fatigues of business, had appointed a youug nymph, 
whom be was fond of, to meet him there at nme o'clock 
in the evening-, but did no: come to her till near twe 


foundations of this grand project were laid al- 
most as soon as the plan itself had been formed. 
Gortz was the first who was let into the secret, 
and was to have made a journey into Italy in 
disguise, to hold a conference with the pretender, 

o'clock in the morning. The lady, as may be supposed, 
reproached liim with the little regard he paid to her 
charms, or his own promise ; bat he excused himself, by 
Baying, that he had been obliged to stay to finish a long 
dispatch in ciphers, which was to be sent away that very 
night by a courier to Spain : so saying, he undressed 
and threw himself into bed, where he quietly fell asleep. 
In pulling oflfhis clothes, he had, by accident, dropped a 
paper out of his pocket, which, by its bulk, raised in the 
nymph that curiosity so natural to her sex. She picked 
it up, and read it partly over, when the nature of its con- 
tents made her resolve to communicate them to La Fol- 
lon : accordingly, she framed some excuse for leaving the 
room, and immediately went to the apartment of the old 
lady, and opened her budget. La Follon, who was a 
woman of superior understanding to most in her sphere, 
immediately saw the whole consequence of the afifair ; and, 
after having recommended to the girl, to amuse her gal- 
lant as long as possible, she immediately went to waken 
the regent, to whom she had access at all hours, for mat- 
ters of a very different nature to the present. This prince, 
whose presence of mind was equal to every exigency, im- 
mediately dispatched different couriers to the frontiers ; in 
consequence of which, the Spanish ambassador's mes- 
senger was stopped at Bayonne, and his dispatches taken 
from him ; upon deciphering of which, the^' were found 
exactly to agree with the original delivered to the regent 
by La Follon ; upon this the prince of Cellamar, the Spa- 
nish ambassador was put under an arrest, and all his papers 
seized ; after which be was sent under a strong guard to 
the frontiers, where they left him to make the best of hU 
way to his own country. Thirs an event, which would haye 
brought the kingdom of France to the verge of destruction, 
was frustrated by a TOtary of V^enus, and a prieAUeaa of the 
temple of pleasure. 


in the neighbourhood of Rome ; froa- thence he 
was to have hastened to the Hague, to have an 
interview with the czar, and then lo have settled 
every thing with the king of Sweden. 

The author of this History is particularly well 
informed of every circumstance here advanced, 
for baron Gortz proposed to him to accompany 
him in these journies ; and, notwithstanding he 
was very voung at that time, he was one of the 
first witnesses to a great part of these intrigues. 

Gort2 returned from Holland in the latter 
part of 1716, furnished with bills of exchange 
from cardinal Alberoni, and letters plenipoten- 
tiary from Charles XII. It is incontestable that 
the Jacobite party were to have made a rising in 
England, while Charles, in his return from Nor- 
way, was to make a descent in the north of 
Scotland. This prince, who had not been able 
to preserve his own dominions on the continent, 
was now going to invade and overrun those of big 
neighbours, and just escaped from his prison in 
Turkey, and from amidst the ruins of his own 
city of Stralsund, Europe might have beheld 
him placing the crown of Great Br tain on the 
head of James II. in London, as he had before 
done that of Poland on Stanislaus at Warsaw. 

The czar, who was acquainted with a part of 
Gortz's projects, waited for the unfolding of the 
rest, without entering into any of his plans, or 
indeed knowing them all. He was as fond of 
great and extraordinary enterprises as Charles 
XII. Gortz, or Alberoni ; but then it was as the 
founder of a state, a lawgiver, and a sound poli- 
tician ; and perhaps Alberoni, Gortz, and even 
Charles himself, were rather men of restless 
souls, who sought after great adventures, tban 
persons of solid understanding, who took their 
measures with a just precaution ; or perhajos. 


after all, their ill successes may have subjected 
them to the charge of rashness and impradence. 

During Gortz's stay at the Hague, the czar did 
not see him, as it would have given too much 
umbrage to his friends the stales -general, who 
were in close alliance with, and attached to, the 
party of che king of England ; and even his mi- 
nisters visited him only in ])rivate, and with 
great precaution, having orders from their master 
to hear all he had to offer, and to flatter him 
with hopes, without entering into any engage- 
ment, or making use of his (the czar's) name in 
their conferences. But, notwithstanding all these 
precautions, those who understood the nature of 
affairs, plainly saw by his inactivity, when he 
might have made a descent upon Scania with the 
joint fleets of Russia and Denmark, by his visible 
coolness towards his allies, and the little regard 
he paid to their complaints, and lastly, by thi? 
journey of his, that there was a great change 
in affairs, which would very soon manifest itself. 

In the month , of January, 1717, a Swedish 
packet-boat, which was carrying letters over to 
Holland, being forced by a storm upon the coast 
of Norway, put into harbour there. The letters 
were seized, and those of baron de Gortz and 
some other public ministers being ojjened, fur- 
nished sufficient evidence of the projected revo- 
lution. The court of Denmark communicated 
these letters to the English ministry, who gave 
orders for arresting the Swedish minister, Gillem- 
bourg, then at the court of Loudon, and seizing 
his papers ; upon examining which they disco- 
vered part of his correspondence with the Ja- 

Feb. 1717.] King George immediately wrote 
to the states-general, requiring them to cause tlie 
person of baron Oortz to be arrested, agreeable 


to the treaty of union subsisting between Eng- 
land and that republic for their mutual security. 
But this minister, who had his cieatures and 
emissaries in every part, was quickly informed 
of this order; upon which he instantlv quitted 
the Hague, and was got as far as Arnheim, a 
town on the frontiers, when the officers and 
guards, who were in pursuit of him, and who 
are seldom accustomed to use such diligence in 
that country, came up with and took him, toge- 
tiier with all his papers: he was strictly confined 
and severely treated ; the secretary Stank, the 
person who had counterfeited the sign manual of 
the young duke of Holstein_, in the affair of 
Toningen, experienced still harsher usage. In 
fine, the count of Gillembourg, the Swedish envoy 
to the court of Great Britain, and the baron de 
Gortz, minister plenipotentiary from Charles 
XII. were examined like criminals, the one at 
London, and the other at Arnheim, while all the 
foreign ministers exclaimed against this violation 
of the law of nations. • 

This privilege, which is mucn more insisted 
upon than understood, and whose limits and ex- 
tent have never vet been fixed, has, in almost 
every age, received violent attacks. Several mi- 
nisters have been driven from the courts where 
they resided in a public character, and even 
their persons have been more than once seized 
upon, but this was the first instance of foreign 
ministers being interrogated at the bar of a court 
of justice, as if they were natives of the country. 
The court of London and the states-general laid 
aside all rules upon seeing the dangers which 
menaced the house of Hanover ; but, in fact, this 
danger, when once discovered, ceased to be any 
longer danger, at least at that juncture. 

The historian Xorbergmusi have been Tcry ill 


informed, and have had a very indifferent know- 
ledge of men and things, or at least have been 
slrans^ely blinded by partiality, or under severe 
restrictions from his own court, to endeavour to 
persuade his readers, that the king of Sweden 
had not a very great share in this plot. 

The affront offered to his ministers fixed 
Charles more than ever in his resolution to try 
every means to dethrone the king of England. 
But here he found it necessary, once in his life 
time, to make use of dissimulation. He dis- 
owned his ministers and their proceedings, both 
to the regent of France and the states general; 
from the former of whom he expected a subsidv, 
and with the latter it was for his interest to keep 
fair. He did not, however, give the king of 
England so much satisfaction, and his ministers, 
Gortz and Gillembourg, were kept six months in 
confinement, and this repeated insult animated 
in him the desire of revenge. 

Peter, in the midst of all these alarms and jea- 
lousies, kept himself quiet, waiting with patience 
the event of all from time ; and having esta- 
blished such good order throughout his vast do- 
minions, as that he had nothing to foar, either at 
home or from abroad, he resolved to make a 
journey to France. Unhappily he did not un- 
derstand the French language, by which means 
he was deprived of the greatest advantage he 
might have reaped from his journey ; but ho 
thought there might be something there worthy 
observation, and he had a mind to be a nearer 
witness of the terms on which the rei;ent stood 
with the king of England, and wheilier that prince 
was staunch to his alliance. 

Peter the Great was received in France as 
such a monarch ought to be. .Marshal Tess^ was 
sent to meet him, with a number of the principal 
M 2 


Jords of the court, a company of guards and the 
king's coaches ; but he, according to his usual 
custom, travelled with such expedition, that he 
•was at Gournay when the equipages arrived at 
Elbeuf. Entertainments were made for him in 
every place on the road where he chose to par* 
take of them. On his arrival he was received in 
the Louvre, where the royal apartments were 
prepared for him, and others for the priuces 
Kourakin and Dolgorouki, the vice-chancellor 
Shaffiroff, the ambassador Tolstoy, the same who 
had suffered in his person that notorious viola- 
tion of the laws of nations in Turkey, and for the 
rest of his retinue. Orders were given for lodg- 
ing and entertaining him in the most splendid 
and sumptuous manner : but Peter, who was 
come only to see what might be of use to him, 
and not to suflfer these ceremonious triflings, 
w'hichwerea restraint upon his natural plainness, 
and consumed a time that was precious to him, 
went the same night to take up his lodgings at 
the other end of the city in the hotel of Les- 
digui^re, belonging to marshal Villeroi, where he 
was entertained at the king's expense in the 
same manner as he would have been at the 
Louvre. The next day (May 8, 1717.) the re- 
gent of France went to make him a visit in the 
before mentioned hotel, and the dav afterwards 
the young king, then an infant, was sent to him 
under the care of his governor, the marshal de 
Villeroi, whose father had been governor to 
Lewis XIV. On this occasion, they, by a po-' 
lite artifice, spared the czar the troublesome re- 
.■^traint of returning this visit immediately after 
receiving it, by allowing an interview of two 
days for him to receive the respects of the several 
corporations of the city ; the second night he 
vent to visit the king: the household were all 


nndei a?ms, and they brought the young king 
quite '•> the door of the czar's coach. Peter, sur- 
prised and uneasy at the prodigious concourse 
of people assembled about the infant monarch, 
took him in his arms, and carried him in that 
manner for some time. 

Certain ministers, of more cunning than un- 
derstanding, have pretended in their writings, 
that marshal de Villeroi wanted to make the 
young king of France take the upper hand on this 
occasion, and that the czar made use of this stra- 
tagem to overturn the ceremonial under the ap- 
pearance of good nature and tenderness ; but this 
notion is equally false and absurd. The natural 
good breeding of the French court, and the re- 
spect due to the person of Peter the Great, would 
not permit a thought of turning the honours in- 
tended him into an aflfront. The ceremonial 
consisted in doing every thing for a great monarch 
and a great man, that he himself could have de- 
sired, if he had given any attention to matters of 
this kind. The journeys of the emperor Charles 
IV. Sigismund, and Charles V. to France, were 
by no means comparable, in point of splendour, 
to this of Peter the Great. They visited this king- 
dom only from motives of political interest, and 
at a time when the arts and sciences, as yet in 
their infancy, could not render the era of their 
journey so memorable : but when Peter the Great, 
on his going to dine with the duke d'Antin, in the 
palace of Petitbourg, about three leagues out of 
Paris, saw his own picture, which had been 
drawn for the occasion, brought on a sudden, and 
placed in a room where he wa^, he then found 
that no people in the world knew so well how to 
receive such a guest as the French. 

He was still more surprised, when, on going 
to see them strike the medals in tlie long gallerj 


ef the LouTTe, where all the king's artists are sc 
handsomely lodged; a medal, which they were 
then striking, happening to fall to the ground, 
the czar stooped hastily down to take it up, when 
he beheld his own head engraved thereon, and 
on the reverse a Fame standing with one foot upon 
a globe, and underneath these words from Virgil 
— • Vires acquirit eundo ;' an allusion equally 
delicate and noble, and elegantly adapted to his 
travels and his fame. Several of these medals in 
gold were presented to him, and to all those who 
attended him. Wherever he went to view the 
-works of any artists, they laid the master-pieces 
of their performances at his feet, which they be- 
sought him to accept. In a word, when he visited 
the manufactories of the Gobelins, the workshop 
of the king's statuaries, painters, goldsmiths, 
jewellers, or mathematical instrument-makers, 
■whatever seemed to strike his attention at any of 
those places, were always offered him in the 
king's name. 

Peter, who was a mechanic, an artist, and a 
geometrician, went to visit the academy of 
sciences, who received him with an exhibition of 
every thing they had most valuable and curious ; 
but they had nothing so curious as himself He 
corrected, with his own hand, several geographi- 
cal errors in the charts of his own dominions, and 
especially in those of the Caspian Sea. Lastly, 
be condescended to become one of the members 
of that academy, and afterw^ards continued a 
correspondence in experiments and discoveries 
■with those among whom he had enrolled himself 
as a simple brother. If we would find examples 
of such travellers as Peter, we must go back to 
the times of a Pythagoras and an Anacharsis, 
and even they did not quit the command of a 
mighty empire, to go in search of instruction. 


And here we cannnct forbear recalling to the 
mind of the reader the transport with which Peter 
the Great was seized on viewing the monument 
of cardinal Richelieu. Regardless of the beauties 
of the sculpture, which is a master-piece of its 
kind, he only admired the image of a minister 
who had rendered himself so famous throughout 
Europe by disturbing its peace, and restored tc 
France that glory which she had lost after the 
death of Henry IV. It is well known, that, em- 
bracing the statue with rapture, he burst forth 
into this exclamation — ' Great man ! I would 
have bestowed one half of my empire on thee, 
to have taught me to govern the other.' And 
now, before he quitted France, he was desirous 
to see the famous ra::dame de Mainteuon. whom 
he knew to be, in fact, the widow of Lewis XIV". 
and who was now drawing very near her end ; 
and his curiosity vvas the more excited by the 
kind of conformity he found between his own 
marriage and that of Lewis ; though witli this 
difference between the king of France and him, 
that he hud nublickly married an heroine, whereas 
Lewis X1V\ had only privately enjoyed an ami- 
able wife. 

The czarina did not accompany her husband 
in this journey : he was apprehensive that the 
excess of ceremony would be troublesome to her, 
as well as the curio.sity of a court little capable 
of distinguishing the true merit of a woman, who 
had braved death by the side of her husband both 
by sea and land, from the banks of the Prutb to 
the coast of Finland. 



Of the retam of the czar to his dominions. — Of hit 
politics and occupations. 

^FHE behaviour of the Sorbonne to Peter, when 
he went to visit the mausoleum of cardinal 
Richelieu, deserves to be treated of by itself. 

Some doctors of this university were desirous 
to have the honour of brin-^ing about a union be- 
tween the Greek and Latin churches. Those 
who are acquainted with antiquity need not be 
told, that the Christian religion was first intro- 
duced into the west by the Asiatic Greeks : that 
it was bom in the east, and that the first fathers, 
tlie tirst councils, the first liturgies, and the first 
rites, were all from the east ; that there is not a 
single title or oflice in the hierarchy, but was in 
Greek, and thereby plainly shews the same from 
whence they zxe all derived to us. Upon the 
division of the Roman empire, it was next to im- 
possible, but that sooner or later there must be 
two religious as well as two empires, and that 
the same schism should arise between the eastern 
and western Christians, as between the followers 
of Osman and the Persians. 

It is this schism which certain doctors of the 
Sorbonne thought to crush all at once by means 
of a memorial which they presented to Peter the 
Great, and effect what Pope Leo XL and his 
successors had in vain laboured for many ages to 
bring about, by legates, coimcils, and even money. 
These doctors should have known, that Peter the 
Great, who was the head of the Russian church, 
was not likely to acknowledge the pope's autho- 
rity. They expatiated in thei;- memorial on the 
liberties of the Galilean church, which the czar 
gave himself no corcern about. J'hey asserted 


that the popes ought to be subject to the councils, 
and that a papal decree is not an article of faith : 
but their representations were in vain ; all they 
got by their pains, was to make the pope their 
enemy by such free declarations, at the same 
time that they pleased neither the czar nor the 
Russian church. 

There were, in this plan of union, certain poli- 
tical views, which the good fathers did not under- 
stand, and some points of controversy which 
they pretended to understand, and which each 
party explained as they thought proper. It wao 
concerning the MolyGhost, which, according to the 
Latin church, proceeds from the Father and Son, 
and which, at present, according to the Greeks, 
proceeds from the Father through the Son, after 
Laving, for a considerable time, proceeded from 
the Father only : on this occasion ihey quoted a 
passage in St. Epiphanius, where it is said, ' That 
the Holy Ghost is neither brother to the .">on, nor 
grandson to the Father.' 

But Peter, when he left Paris, had other busi- 
ness to mind, than that of clearing up passatjes m 
St. Epiphanius. Nevertheless, he received the 
memorial of the Sorbonne with his accustomed 
affability. That learned body wrote to some of 
the Russian bishops, who returned a polite an- 
swer, though the majorpartof them were offended 
at the proposed union. It was in order to remove 
any apprehensions of such a union, that Peter, 
some time afterwards, namely, in 17 lo, when he 
had driven the Jesuits out of his dominions, in- 
stituted the ceremony of a burlesque conclave. 

He had at his court an old fool, named Jotof, 
who had learned him to write, and who thought 
he had, by that trivial service, merited the highest 
honours and most important posts : I'eter, who 
aometimes softeneil the toihi of government, by 


indulging bis people in amusements, which befit- 
ted a nation as yet not entirely reformed by his 
labours, promised his -wiiting-^naster, to bestow 
on him one of the highest dignities in the world ; 
accordingly, he appointed him knez papa, or 
supreme pontiff, with an appointment of two 
thousand crowns, and assigned him a house to 
live in, in the Tartarian quarter at Petersburg. 
He was installed by a number of buffoons, with 
great ceremony, and four fellows who stammered 
were appointed to harangue him on the acces- 
sion. He created a number of cardinals, and 
marched in procession at their head, and the 
whole sacred college was made drunk with brandy. 
After the death of this Jotof, an ofl5cer, named 
Buturlin, was made Pope : this ceremony has 
been thrice renewed at Moscow and Petersburg, 
the ridiculousness of which, though it appeared of 
no moment, yet has by its ridiculousness confirm- 
ed the people in their aversion to a church, which 
pretended to the supreme power, and whose church 
had anathematized so many crowned heads. In 
this manner did the czar revenge the cause of 
twenty emperors of Germany, ten kings of France, 
and a number of other sovereigns j and this was 
all the advantage the Sorbonne gained from its 
impolitic attempt to unite the Latia and Greek 
churches. » 

The czar's journey to France proved of more 
utility to his kingdom, by bringing about a con- 
nexion with a trading and industrious people, 
than could have arisen from the projected union 
between two rival churches , one of which will 
always maintain its ancient independence, and 
the other its new superiority. 

Peter carried several artificers with him out of 
France, in the same manner as he had done out 
of Elns^land i for every nation,, which he visited 


thought it an honour to assist him in hi? (ie&ign 
of introducing the arts and sciences into his new- 
formed state, and to be instrumental in this 
species of new creation. 

In this expedition, he drew up a sketch of a 
treaty of commerce with France, and which he 
put into the hands of his ministers at Holland, as 
soon as he returned thither, but it was not signed 
by the Frencli ambassador, Chateauneuf, till the 
l^th August, 1717, at the Hague. 'I'his treaty 
not only related to trade, but likewise to bringing 
about peace in the North. The king of France 
and the elector of Brandenburg accepted of the 
office of mediators, which Peter offered them. 
This was sufficient to give the king of England 
to understand, that the czar was not well pleased 
with liim, and crowned the hopes of baron Gortz, 
who from that time, left nothing undone to bring 
about a union between Charles and Peter, to 
stir up new enemies a^^ainst George I. and to 
assist cardinal Alberoni in his schemes in every 
part of Europe. Gortz now paid and received 
visits publicly from the czar's ministers at the 
Hague, to whom he declared, that he was in- 
vested with full power from the court of Sweden 
to conclude a peace. 

The czar suffered Gortz to dispose all his bat- 
teries, without assisting therein himself, and was 
prepared either to make peace with the kmg of 
Sweden, or to carry on the war, and continued 
still in alliance with the kings of Denmark, Po- 
land, and Kussia, and in appearance with the 
elector of Hanover. 

It was evident, that he had no fixed design, 
but that of profiting of conjunctures and circum- 
stances, and that his main object was to complete 
the general establishments he had set on foot. 
He well knew, that the negotiations and intereeta 


of princes, their leagues, their friendships, theix 
jeaJousies, and their enmities, were subject to 
change with each revolving year, and that fre- 
quently not the smallest traces remain of the 
greatest efforts in politics. A simple manufac- 
tory, well established, is often of more reai ad- 
vantage to a state than twenty treaties. 

Peter having joined the czarina, who was 
waiting for him in Holland, continued his travels 
with her. They crossed Westphalia, and anived 
at Berlin in a private manner. The new kin^ of 
Prussia was as much an enemy to ceremonious 
vanities, and the pomp of a court, as Peter him- 
self ; and it was an instructive lesson to the eti- 
quette of Vienna and Spain» the punctilio of Itaiy, 
and the politesse of the French court, to see a 
king, who only made use of a wooden elbow- 
chair, who went always in the dress of a com- 
mon soldier, and who had banished from bis 
table, not only all the luxuries, but even the more 
moderate indulgences of life. 

The czar and czarina observed the same plain 
manner of living ; and had Charles been with 
them, the world might have beheld four crowned 
heads, with less pomp and state about them than 
a German bishop, or a cardinal of Rome. Never 
were luxury and effeminacy opposed by such 
noble e.tamples. 

It cannot be denied, that if one of our fellow- 
subjects had, from mere curiosity, made the fifth 
part of the journeys that Peter I. did for the good 
of his kingdom, he would have been considered 
as an extraordinary person, and one who chal- 
lenged our consideration. From Berlin he went 
to Dantzic, still accompanied by his wife, and 
from thence to Mittau, where he protected his 
niece, the duchess of Courland, lately become a 
Madow. He visited all the places he had con- 


quered, made several new and useful regulations 
in Petersburg ; he then goes to Moscow, where 
he rebuilds the bouses of several persons that 
had fallen to ruin ; from thence he transports 
himself to Czaritsin, on the river Wolga, to stop 
the incursions of the Cuban lartars, constructs 
lines of communication from the Wolga to the 
Don, and erects forts at certain distances, be- 
tween the two rivers. At the same time he 
caused the military code, which he had lately 
composed, to be printed, and erected a court of 
justice, to examine into the conduct of his minis- 
ters, and to retrieve the disorders in his finances ; 
he pardons several who were found guilty, and 
punishes others. Among the latter was the great 
prince Menzikoflf himself, who stood in need of 
the royal clemency. But a sentence more severe, 
which he thought himself obliged tc utter against 
Lis own son, filled with bitlernes*" those days, 
which were, in other respects, covered with so 
much glory. 


ProceedingB against prince Alexis Petrowitz. 

DETER the Great, at the age of seventeen, haa 
married, in the year 1689, Eudocia Theodora, 
or Theodorouna Lapoukin. Bred up in the pre- 
judices of her country, and incapable of sur- 
mounting them like her husband, the greatest 
opposition he met with in erecting his empire, 
and forming his people, came from her : she was, 
as is too common to her sex, a slave to supersti- 
tion ; every new and useful alteration she looked 
ttpon as a species of sacrilege ; and every foreigner, 
whom the war employed to execute his great de- 


signs, appeared to Iier no better than as corrop'- 
tors and innovators. 

Her open and public complaints gave encon- 
ragemeat to the factious, andthjse who were the 
advocates for ancient customs and manners. 
Her conduct, in other respects, by no means made 
amends for such heavy imperfections. The czar 
was at length obliged to repudiate her in 1696, 
and shut her up in a convent at Susdal, where 
they obliged her to take the veil under the nama 
of Helena. 

The son, whom he had by her in 1690, was 
bom unhappily with the disposition of his mother, 
and that disposition received additional strength 
from his very first education. My memoirs say, 
that he was encrusted to the care of superstitious 
men, who ruined his understanding for ever. 
'Twas in vain that they hoped to correct these 
first impressions, by giving him foreign precep- 
tors ; their very quality of being foreigners dis- 
gusted him. He was not bom destitute of genius ; 
he spoke and wrote German well ; he had a 
tolerable notion of designing, and understood 
something of mathematics : but these very me- 
moirs affirm, that the reading of ecclesiastical 
books was the ruin of hiin. The young Alexis 
imagined he saw in these books a condemnation 
of every thing which his father ha I done. There 
were some priests at the head of the malcon- 
tents, and by the priests he suflfered himself to 
be governed. 

They persuaded him that the whole nation 
looked with horror upon the enterprises of Peter; 
that the frequent illnesses of the czar promised 
but a short life ; and that his Kon could not hope 
to please the nation, but by testifying his aversion 
for all changes of custom. These murmurs, and 
these counsels, did not break out into an open 


faction or conspiracy , but every thing seemed to 
tend that way, and the tempers of the people were 

Peter's marriage with Catherine in 1707, and 
the children which he liad by her, began to sour 
the disposition of the young priiice. Peter tried 
every method to rechiim him : he even placed 
him at the head of the regency for a year ; he 
sent him to truvei ; he married him in 1711, at 
the end of the campaign of Pruth, to the princess 
of Brunswick. 'Jhis marriage was attended with 
great misfortunes. Alexis, now- twenty years 
old, gave himself up to the debauchery of youth, 
and that boorishness of ancient manners he so 
much delighted in. 'J'hese irregularities almost 
brutalized liim. His wife, despised, ill-treated, 
wanting even necessaries, and deprived of all 
comforts, languished away in disappointment, and 
died at last of grief, the first of November, 171.T. 

She left the prince .■Mexis one son; and ac- 
cording to the natural order, this son was one 
day to become heir to the empire. Peter per- 
ceived with sorrow, that when he should be no 
more, all his labours were likely to he destroyed 
by those of liis own blood. After the death of 
the princess, he wrote a letter lo his son, equally 
tender and resolute : it finished with these words : 
' I will still wait a little time, to see if you will 
correct yourself; if not, know that 1 will cut you 
off from the succession, as we lop off a useless 
member. Don't imagine, that 1 mean only to 
intimidate you ; don't rely upon the title of being 
my only sou ; for if I spare not my own life for 
my country, and the good of rny people, how shall 
I spare you 1 I will rather choose to leave my 
kingdom to a foreign^-r who deserves it, than to 
my own son, who makes himself unworthy of it.' 

This is the letter of a father, but it is still more 


ih' letter of a legislator ; it sbews us, besides 
that the order of succession was not invariably 
established in Russia; as in other kingdoms, by 
those fundamental laws which take away from 
fathers the right of disinheriting their children ; 
and the czar believed he had an undoubted pre- 
rogative to dispose of an empire which he had 

At this very time the empress Catherine was 
brought to bed of a prince, who died afterwards 
in 1719. Whether this news sunk the courage 
of Alexis, or whether it was imprudence or bad 
counsel, he wrote to his father, that he renounced 
the crown, and all hopes of reigning. * I take 
God to witness,' says he, ' and 1 swear by my 
soul that I will never pretend to the succession. 
I put my children into your hands, and I desire 
only a provision for life.' 

The czar wrote him a second letter, as fol- 
lows :* — 'You speak of the succession, as if I 

• As these letters and answers afford the most strikinjj 
evidence of the czar'ft prudence, and the prince's insin- 
cerity, and will convey to the reader a clear idea of the 
ground* and motives of this extraordinary transaction, 
we have inserted the following translation of them. The 
lirst letter from the czar to his son, is dated the £7th of 
October, 1715, and displays a noble spirit of religior., 
with the most ardent desire of leaving a successor who 
should perpetuate his nanoe and glory to future ages 

' Son,' says the czar to him, ' you cannot be igaoratit 
of what is known to all the world, that our people groaned 
under the oppression of the Swedes, before the beginning 
of this present war. By the usurped possession of many 
of our maritime ports, so necessary to our state, they cut 
us ofiF from ail commerce with the rest of mankind ; and 
we saw, with deep regret, that they had even cast a mist 
over the eyes of persons of the greatest discernment, who 
tamely brooked their slaverj-, and made no complainu to 
«. You know how much it cost us at the beginning of 


fitood in need of your consent in the disposal 
thereof. I reproached you with the aversion you 

this war, to make ourselves thoroughly experienced, and 
to stand onr ground in spite of all the advantages which 
oorirreconcileable enemies gained over us. The Almighty 
alone has conducted us by his hand, and conducts us still. 
We submitted to that probationary state with resignation 
to the will of God, not doubting but it was he who made 
us pass through it : he has accepted our submission ; and 
the same enem^-, before whom we were wont to tremble, 
LOW trembles before us. These are efiTccts, which, under 
Gods's assistance, we owe to our labour, and those of our 
faithful and affectionate sons, and Russian subjects. But 
while I survey the successes with which God has blessed 
ourai-ms, if I turn m3' eyes on the posterity that is to suc- 
ceed me, my soul is pierced with anguish ; and I have no en- 
joyment of my present happiness, when 1 carry my views 
into futurity. All my felicity vanishes away like a dream, 
since you, my son, reject all means of rendering yourself 
capable of governing well after me. Your incapacity is 
voluntary ; for you cannot excuse yourself from want of 
genius : it is inclinatioa alone you want. Far less can 
you plead the want of bodily strength, as if God had not 
furnished you suflBcientl3' in ihat respect : for though your 
constitution be none the strongest, it cannot be reckoned 
weak. Yet you will not so much as hear of warlike 
exercises ; though it is by those means we are risen from 
that obscurity in which we were buried, and have made 
ourselves known to the nations about us, whose esteem 
we now enjoj'. I am far from desiring you to cherish in 
yourself a disposition to make war for its own sake, and 
without just reasons: all I demand of you is, that you 
would apply yourself to learn the military art; because, 
Krithout uijderstanding the rules of war, it is impossible 
\o be qualified for government. 1 might set before your 
eyes many examples of what I propose to yon ; but shall 
onl^- mention the Greeks, with whom we are united by 
the same profession of faith. Whence came the declen- 
sion of their empire, but from the neglect of arms } Sloth 
and inaction have subjected them to tyrants, and that 
davery ocder which thej have groaned. Yoa are mtiol: 


have shewn to all kind of business, and sigriified 
to you, that I was highly dissatisfied with your 

mistaken if you imagine it is enough for a prince that he 
have good generals to act under his orders : no, my son, 
it is upon the chief himself that the eyes of the world 
are fixed ; they study his inclinations, and easily slide 
into the in:iiation of his manners. My brother, during 
his reign, loved magnificence in dress, and splendid 
equipages, and horses ricklj- caparisoned ; the taste of this 
country was not much formed that way ; but the pleasures 
of the prince soon became those of the subjects, who are 
readily led to imitate him both in the objects of his love 
and disgust. If people are so easily disengaged from things 
that are only for pleasure, will they not be still more prone 
to forget, aud in process of time wholly to lay aside the 
use of arms, the exercise of which grows the more irksome 
the less they are habituated to them ? You have no in- 
clination to learn the profession of war ; yon do not apply 
yourself to it; and consequently will never know it. How 
then will you be able to command others, and to judge of 
the rewards which those subjects deserve who do their 
duty, or of the punishment due to such as fall short of 
obedience ? You must judge only by other people's eyes ; 
and will be considered as a young bird, which reaching 
out its beak, is as ready to receive poison as proper 
nourishment. You say, the iufirm state of your health 
makes you unfit to bear the fatigues of war ; but that is a 
frivolous excuse. 1 desire you not to undergo the fatigues 
of that profession, though it is there that all great 
captains are begun ; but I wish you had aa inclination to 
the military art; and reason may give it 3'ou, if you have 
it not from nature. Had you once this inclination, it 
would occupy your thoughts at all times, even in your 
hours of sickness. Ask those who remember my brother's 
reign : his state of health was much more infirm than 
your's ; he could not manage a horse of never so little 
mettle, nor hardly mount him: yet he loved horses, and 
perhaps there never will be in the countrj' liner stables 
-han his. Hence you see, that success does not always 
depend upon personal labour, but upon the inclination. 
If you think that there are princes, whose affairs fail not 


conduct in general ; but to these particulars you 
iiave given me no answer. Paternal exhorta- 

<o succeed, though they go not to war in person, yoa are 
la the right ; bu-t if they go not to the field of battle, the^ 
iare, however, an inclination to go, and are acquainted 
with tho military art. For instance, the late king of 
France did not always take the field himself; but we 
know to what a degree he was a lover of war, and how- 
many glorious exploits he performed therein ; which 
made his campaigns be called the theatre and school of 
the world. The bentoffhat prince's mind was not turned 
to military afifairs only, he had also a taste for the polite 
arts, for manufactures, and other institutions, wtiich have 
made his kingdom more flourishing than any other. After 
all these remonstrances which I have laid before you, I 
return to my first subject, which immediately concerns 
yourself. I am a man, and consequently must die : to 
whom shall I leave the care of finishing what, b}' God's 
grace, I have begun, and of preserving what 1 have in 
pan recovered ? To a son who, like that slothful servant 
in the gospel, buries his talent iu the earth, and neglects 
to improve what God has committed to his trust ? How 
often have I reproached 30U for your sulk-nness and in- 
docility ? I have been obliged to chastise you on that 
account. For these several years past I have hardly 
spoke to 3'ou, because I almost despair of bringing you 
back to the right way ; discouraged and disheartened by 
the fruitlessuess of all mj' endeavours. You loiter on in 
•upine indolence ; abandoning yourself to shameful plea- 
sures, without extending j-our foresight to the dangerous 
consequences which such a conduct must produce both 
to yourself and the whole slate : you confine yourself to 
the government of your own house, and in that station 
you acquit j'ourself verj' ill ; St. Paul has told us, ' he 
that knows not how to govern his own house, how shall 
he be able to rule the church of God ?' In like manner 
I say to you, since j'ou know not how to manage your 
domestic afifairs, how can you be able to govern a king- 
dom r I am determined, at last, to signify to you my 
final purpose ; being willing, however, to defer the ex» 
ctUioQ of it for a short time, to see if you will reform 


dons make no impression on you, wherefore I 
resolved to write you this once for the last time. 

if not, know iLat 1 am resolved to deprive voii of tli« 
Boccession, as I would lop off a useless branch. Do not 
imagine, that because 1 have no other child but yon,* I 
mean by this only to intimidate you : I will most cer- 
tainly execute my resolution ; and God requires it of me : 
for, since I spare not my own life for the sake of my 
country, and the welfare of my people, why should I 
allovr an effeminate prince to ascend the throne after me, 
who would sacrifice the interest of the subject to his 
pleasures.' and should he be obliged to expose his life in 
their behalf, would leave them to perish, rather than re- 
dress their grievances. I will call in a mere stranger to 
the crown, if he be but worthj' of that honour, sooner 
than my own son, if he is unworthy. 

' PETER.' 

To this letter the czarowitz replied : ' Most gracious 
sovereign and father, I have read the letter which your 
majesty sent me of the 27th of October, 1715, after the in- 
terment of my wife ; and all the answer I can make to it 
is, that if your majesty is determined to deprive me of the 
succession to the crown of Russia, on account of my inabi- 
lity, your will be done, i eveii request it of you very 
earnestly ; because I judge not myself fit for government. 
My memory is greatly impaired; and without memory 
there is no managing affairs. The powers both of my 
bodj- and mind are much weakened bj- the diseases to 
which I have been incident, and 1 am thereby incapaci- 
tated for the rule of so great a people. Such a charge 
requires a man far more Tigorous than 1 am. For these 
reasons I am not ambitious to succeed you (whom God 
preserve through a length of years) in the crown of 
Russia, even though I had no brother, as I have one at 
present, whom God long preserve. As little will I for the 
future set up any claim to the succession : to the truth ot 
which I solemnly swear, tcking God it bo my witneM; 

• This letter was written about eight days oefore tl» 
birth of Peter Petro?.-itz, the czar's second 6cn» 


If you despise the advice I give you while I am 
alive, what regard will you pay to them after 
my death? But though you had the inclination 
at present to be true to your promises, yet a 
corrupt priesthood will be able to turn you at 
pleasure, and force you to falsify them. They 
have no depeudance but upon you. You have 
no sense of gratitude towards hira who gave you 
your being. Have you ever assisted him in toils 
and labours since you arrived at the age of matu- 
rity ? Do you not censure and condemn, nay, 
even affect to hold in detestation, whatever I 
do for the good of my people? In a word, I 
have reason to conclude, that if you survive me, 
you will overturn every thing that I have done. 
Take your choice, either endeavour to make 
yourself worthy of the throne, or embrace a mo- 
nastic state. I expect your answer, either in 
writing, or by word of mouth, otherwise 1 shall 
treat you as a common malefactor.' 

This letter was very severe, and it was easy 
for the prince to have replied, that he would 
alcer his conduct ; instead of which, he only re- 
turned a short answer to his father, desiring 
permission to turn monk.* 

aud in testimony thereof I write and sign these presents. 
1 put my children into your hands : and for myself I ask 
no more of you than a bare maintenance daring my life, 
leaving the whole to your pleasure. 

' Your hnmfr.'e servant and son, 


Peter soon penetrated through the disguise his son bad 
at-sumed, and therefore wrote him the above letter, dated 
Jauuary ig, I716, and which he called his ' Last Admo- 

• This letter was couched in the following terms : — 
Most gracious sovereign and father, yesterday morning 


This resolution appeared altogether unnar 
tural ; and it may furnish matter of surprise, 
that the czar should think of travelling, and 
leaving a son at home so obstinate and ill-af- 
fected ; but, at the same time, his doing so, is 
next to a proof, that he thought he had no reason 
to apprehend a conspiracy from that son. 

The czar, before he set out for Germany and 
France, w ent to pay his son a visit. The prince, 
who was at that time ill, or at least feigned him- 
self so, received his father in his bed, where he 
protested, with the most solemn oaths, that he 
was ready to retire into a cloister. The czar 
gave him six months to consider of it, and then 
set out on his travels with the czarina. 

No sooner was he arrived at Copenhagen, 
than he heard (what he might reasonably ex- 
pect) that the czarowitz conversed only with 
factious and evil-minded persons, who strove 
to feed his discontent. Upon this the czar 
wrote to him, that he had to choose between a 
throne and a convent ; and that, if he had any 
thoughts of succeeding him, he must immediately 
set out and join him at Copenhagen. 

But the confidants of the prince remonstrating 
to bim how dangerous it would be to trust him- 
self in a place where he could have no friends to 
advise him, and where he would be exposed to 
the anger of an incensed father, and the machi- 
nations of a revengeful step-mother ; he, under 
pretence of going to join his father at Copen- 

I received your letter, of the IQth of this month : mj- in- 
disposition hinders me from writing to you at large, but 
I am willing to embrace the monastic state, and I beg 
your gracious consent thereto. 

' Your servant, and unworhy son, 



hagen, took the road to Vie^.ia, and threw 
himself under the protection of the emperor 
Charles VI. his brother-in-law, intending to re- 
main at hi? court till the death of the czar. 

This adventure of the czarowitz was nearly 
the same as that of Lewis XI. of Fiance, who. 
when he was dauphin, quitted the court of his 
father Charles VII. and took refuge with the 
duke of Burgundy ; but the dauphin was muclj 
more culpable than Alexis, inasmuch as he mar- 
ried in direct opposition to his father's will, 
raised an army against him, and threw himself 
into the arms of a prince, who was Charles's de- 
clared enemy, and refused to hearken to the re- 
peated remonstances of his father, to return back 
to his court. 

The czarowitz, on the contrary, had married 
only in compliance with his father's orders, had 
never rebelled against him, nor raised an army, 
nor taken refuge in the dominions of an enemy, 
and returned to throw himself at his feet, upon 
the very first letter he received from him; for, 
as soon as Peter knew that his son had been at 
Vienna, and had afterwards retired to Tyrol, 
and from thence to Naples, which, at that time, 
belonged to the emperor, he dispatched Iloman- 
zoff, a captain of his guards, and the privy-coun- 
sellor Tolstoy, with a letter written with his own 
hand, and dated at Spa, the 21st of July, N. S. 
1717. They found the prince at Naples, in the 
castle of St. P2lme, and delivered to him his fa- 
ther's letter, which was as follows : — 

' I now write to you for the last time, to ac- 
quaint you, that you must instantly comply with 
my orders, v/hich will be communicated to 'you 
by Tolstoy and RomanzofF. If you obey, 1 give 
you my sacred word and promise, that I will 
not punish you ; and that, if you will return 


home, I will love you uiore than ever; but, i. 
you do not, 1, as your father, and in virtue of 
the authority which God has given me over you, 
denounce against you my eternal curse ; and, as 
your sovereign, declare to you, that I will find 
means to punish your disobedience, in which I 
trust God himself will assist me, and espouse 
the just cause of an injured parent and king. 

' For the rest, remember that I have never 
laid any restraint upon you. Was I obliged to 
leave you at liberty to choose your way of life 1 
Had I not the power in my own hands to oblige 
^ou to conform to my will 1 I had only to com- 
mand, and make myself obeyed.' 

The viceroy of Naples found it no difficult 
matter to persuade the czarowitz to return to his 
father. This is an incontestable proof that the 
emperor had no intention to enter into any en- 
gagements with the prince, that might give um- 
brage to his father. Alexis therefore returned 
with the envoys, bringing with him his mistress, 
AphrosjTie, who had been the companion of his 

We may consider the czarowitz as an ill-ad- 
vised young man, who had gone to Vienna and to 
Naples, instead of going to Copenhagen, agree- 
able to the orders of his father and sovereign. 
Had he been guilty of no other crime than this, 
which is common enough with young and giddy 
persons, it was certainly very excusaWe. 'i'he 
prince determined to return to his father, on the 
faith of his having taken God to witness, that 
he not only would pardon him, but that he would 
love him better than ever. But it appears by 
the instructions given to the two envoys who 
went to fetch him, and even by the czar's jwn 
letter, that his father required hina to declare the 
•>ersons who had beer, his counsellors, and also 


to fulfil the oath he had made of renouncing the 

It seemed difficult to reconcile this exclusion 
of the czarowitz from the succession, with the 
other part of the oath, by which the czar had 
bound himself in his letter, namely that of loving 
his son better than ever. Perhaps divided be- 
tween paternal love, and the justice he owed to 
himself and people, as a sovereign, he might limit 
the renevi-al of his affection to his son in a con- 
vent, instead of to that son on a throne : per- 
haps, likewise, he was in hopes to reduce hira 
to reason, and to render him worthy of the suc- 
cession at last, by making him sensible of the 
loss of a crown which he had forfeited by his own 
indiscretion. In a circumstance so uncommon, 
so intricate, and so afflicting, it may be easily 
supposed that the minds of both father and son 
were under equal perturbation, and hardly con- 
sistent with themselves. 

The prince arrived at Moscow on the 13th of 
February. N. S. 1717; and the same day went to 
throw himself at his father's feet, who was re- 
turned to the city from his travels. They had 
along conference together, and a report was im- 
mediately spread through the city, that the prince 
and his father were reconciled, and that all past 
transactions were buried in oblivion. But the 
next day, orders were issued for the regiments 
of guards to be under arras at break of day. and 
for all the czar's ministers, boyards, and coun- 
sellors, to repair to the great hall of the castle : 
as also for the prelates, together with two monks 
of St. Basile, professors of divinity, to assemble. 
in the cathedral, at the tolling of the great bell. 
The unhappy prince was then conducted to the 
great castle like a j)risoner, and being come in 
his father's presence, threw himself in tearn nt 


his feet, and presented a writing, containing a 
confession of bisfaults, declaring himself unworthy 
of the succession, and imploring only that his life 
miglit be spared.* 

The czar, raising up his son, withdrew with 
him into a private room, where he put many ques- 
tions to him, declaring to him at the same time; 
that if he concealed any one circumstance relating 
to his elopement, his life should answer for it. 
The prince was then brought back to the great 
hall, where the council was assembled, and the 
czar's declaration, which had been previously 
prepared, was there pubLcly read in his pre- 

• The prince's renunciation was couched in the fol- 
/owing terms : — ' I, the undernamed, declare upon the 
holy gospel, that on account of the crimes I have com- 
mitted against his czarish majesty, my father and bo- 
vereijn, as set forth in his manifesto, I am, through my 
own fault, excluded from the throne of Russia. There- 
fore I confess and acknowledge that exclusion to be just 
as having merited it by my own fault aud 'iuworihiness,: 
and I hereby oblige myself, and swear in the presence of 
Almighty God, in unity of nature, and trinity of persons, 
as my supreme Judge, to submit in all things to my 
father's will, never to set up a claim or pretension to the 
succession, or accept of it under any pretext whatever, 
acknowledging my brother Peter Petrowitz as lawful 
successor to the crown. In testimony whereof, I kiss 
the holy cross, and sign these presents with my own 
hand. 'ALEXIS.' 

t As this extraordinary piece cannot fail of being in- 
teresting to most part of our readers, we have ventured 
to subjoin the whole of it in a note, our author fcavin|f 
on)»; given some few extracts. 

The Czar's Declaration. 
Peter 1. by the grace of God, czar, emperor of Russia, 
^1'. to all our faithful subject*, ecclesiastical, militar/,»n<l 


In tliis piece the czar reproaches his sou with 

all those faults we have before related, namely, 

ciTil, of all the states of the Russian nation. It is no- 
torious, and well known to the greatest part of our faith- 
ful subjects, and cliiefly to those who live in the places 
of ourresidence, or who are iu our service, with how much 
care and applicati n we have caused our eldest son Alexis 
to be brought up and educated ; having given him for 
that purpose, from his infancy, tutors to teach him the 
Russian tongue, and foreign languages, and to instruct 
him in all arts and sciences, in order not only to bring 
him up in our Christian oriliodox faith of the Greek pro- 
fession, but also in the knowledge of political and mili- 
tary aflfairs, and likewise in the constitution of foreign 
countries, their customs and languages; through the read- 
ing of history, and other books, in all manner of sciences, 
becoming a prince of his high rank, he might acquire the 
qualifications worthy of a successor to our throne of Great 
Russia. Nevertheless, we have seen with grief, that all 
attention and care, for the education and instruction of 
oar son, proved ineffectual and useless, seeing he always 
Bwerved from his filial obed'.ence, shewing no application 
for what was becoming a wtrthj* successor, and slighting 
the precepts of the masters we had appointed for him ; 
but, on the contrary, frequenting disordi.rlj-personB, from 
whom he could learn nothing good, or that would be ad- 
vantageous and useful to him. We have not m^glected 
often to endeavour to reclaim, and bring him hnrY to hifl 
duly, sometimes b3' caresees and gentle means, some- 
times by reprimands, sometimes by paternal corrections. 
We have more than once taken him witli us into our army 
and the field, that he might be instructed in the art of war, 
as one of tlie chief sciences for the defence of his coun- 
try ; s.'uardin.; him, at the same time, from £.11 hazard of 
the succession, though we exposed ourself to manifest 
perils and dangers. We have ut other times left him at 
Moscow, putting into his hands a sort of regency ia 
the empire, in order to form him in the art of govern- 
ment, and that he might learn how to reiijn after u«. Wc 
have likewise sent Iiim into foreign cou;nries, in hopes 
end expectation, iLst seeinu', in hi.s travels, governmon;* 


his little application to study, his connexions with ' 
the favourers of the ancient cuslonns and manners 

BO well regulated, this •;vould excite in him some emo- 
lation and an inciiaaiicn to apply )iimself to do well. 
But all our care his been fruitless, and like the seed of 
the doctrine fallen upon a rock ; for he Las not only re- 
fused to follow that which is good, but even is come to 
bate it, without shewing anj- inclination, or disposition, 
either for military or political affairs; hourly and con- 
tinually conversing with base and disorderly persons, 
whose morals are rude and abominable. As we were re- 
solved to endeavour, by all imaginable means, to reclaim 
bira from that disorderly course, and to inspire him with 
an inclination to converse with persons of virtue and 
honour ; we exhorted him to choose a consort among 
the chief foreign houses, as is usual in other countries, 
and hath been practised by our ancestors, the czars of 
Russia, who have contracted alHances by marriages with 
other sovereign houses, and we have left him at liberty 
to make a choice. lie declared his inclination for lh« 
princess, grand-daughter of the duke of Wolfenbuttle, 
then reigning, sister-in-law to his imperial majesty tbt 
emperor of the Romans, now reigning, and cousin to the 
king of Great Britain ; and having desired us to procure 
him that alliance, and permit him to marry that princess, 
we readily consented thereunto, without an"" regard to 
the great expense which was necessarily occasioned by 
that marriage : but, after its consummation , we found our- 
selves disappointed of the hopes we had, that the change in 
the condition of our son would produce good fruits, and 
change his bad icclinations; for, notwithstanding his 
spouse was, as far as we have been able to observe, a wise, 
sprightly princess, and of a virtuous conduct, and that he 
himself had chcsen her, he nevertheless lived with her in 
the greatest disunion, while he redoubled his afTection for 
lewd people, bringing thereby a disgrace upon our house in 
the eyesof foreign powers to whom that princesswaa related, 
which drew upon us many complaints and reproaches. 
Our frequent advices ar.d exhortations to him, to reform 
his conduct, proved ineffectual, and he at last violated th« 
conjugal faith, and gave hie affection to a prostitute of 


of the country, and bis ill-behaviour to his wife.' 
— ' He has even violated the conjugal faith,' saith 

t!ie most servile and low condition, living publicly in 
that crime with her, to the great contempt of his lawfut 
spouse, who soon after died ; and it was believed that 
bcr grief, occasioned by the disorderly life of her hus- 
band, hastened the end of her days. When we saw his 
resolution to persevere in his vicious courses, we declared 
to him, at tlie funeral of his consort, that if he did not 
tor the future conform to our will, and apply himself to 
things becoming a prince, presumptive heir to so great 
an empire, we would deprive him of the succession, 
without any regard to his being our only son (our second 
Kon was not then born) and that he ought not to rely 
upon his being such, because we would rather choose for 
our successor a stranger worthy thereof, than an unwor* 
thy son ; that we would not leave our empire to such a 
successor, who would ruin and destroj- what we have, 
by God's assistance, established, and tarnish the glory 
and honour of the Russian nation, for the acquiring of 
which we had sacrificed our ease and our health, and 
willingly exposed our life on several occasions ; besides, 
that the fear of God's judgment would not permit us to 
leave the government of such vast territories in the hands 
of one whose insufficiency and nnworthiness we were not 
ignorant of. In short, we exhorted him in the most 
pressing terms we could make use of, to behave himself 
with discretion, and gave him time to repent and return 
to his duty. His answer to these remonstrances was, 
that he acknowledged himself guilty in all these points ; 
but alleged the weakness of his parts and genius, which 
did not permit him to apply himself to the sciences, and 
other functions recommended to him : he owned himself 
incapable of our s-uccessiun, and desired us to discharge 
him from the same. Nevertheless, we continued to ex- 
hort him with a paternal affection, and joining menaces 
to our exliortations ; we forgot nothing to bring him back to 
the right way. The operations of the war having ol)lige<l 
us to repair to Denmark, we left him at Petersburg, to 
five him time to return to his duty, and amend his waya; 
Rod, afterwards, upon the repeated advices we received 


the czar in his manifesto, ' by giving his affection 
to a prostitute of the nnost servile and low con- 

of the continuauce of his disorderly life, we sent him or- 
ders to come to us at Copenhagen, to make the campaign, 
that he might thereby the better form himself. But, for- 
getting the fear and commandments of God, who enjoins 
obedience even to private parents, and much more to 
those who are at the same time sovereigns, our paternal 
cares had no other return than unheard-of ingratitude ; 
for, instead of coming to us as we ordered, he withdrew, 
with large sums of money, and his infamous concubine, 
with whom he continued to live in a criminal course, and 
put himself under the protection of the emperor, raising 
against us, his father and his lord, numberless calumnies 
and false reports, as if we did persecute him, and intended, 
without cause, to deprive him of the succession ; alleging, 
moreover, that even his life was not safe if he continued 
with us, and desired the emperor not only to give him 
refuge in his dominions, but also to protect him against 
tis by force of arms. Every one maj- judge, what shame 
and dishonour this conduct of our son hatb drawn upoo 
us and our empire, in the face of the whole world ; the 
like instance is hardly to be found in history. The em- 
peror, though informed of his excesses, and how he had 
lived with his consort, sister-in law to his imperial ma- 
jesty, thought fit, however, upon these pressing instances, 
to appoint him a place where he might reside ; and he 
desired farther, that he might be so private there, that 
we might not come to the knowledge of it. Meanwhile 
his long stay having made us fear, out of a tender and 
fatherly affection for him, that some misfortune had be- 
fallen him, we sent persons several wars to get intelli- 
gence of him, and, after a great deal of trouble, we were 
at last informed bj' the captain of our guard, Alexander 
RomanzofF, that he was privately kept in aa imperial 
fortress at Tj-rol ; whereupon we wrote a letter, with our 
owu hand, to the emperor, to desire that he might be 
sent back to us : but, notwithstahding the emperor ac- 
quainted him with our demands, and exhorted him to 
rettirn to us, and submit to our will, as beiug his father 
end lord ; yet he alUged, with a great many calumnies 


dition, during the life-time of his lawful spouse.' 
It is certain that Peter himself had repudiatea 

agaiust us, that he ought not to ne delivered into our 
hands, as if we had been his enemy, and a tyrant, from 
whom he had notliing to expect but death. In short, he 
persuaded liis imperial majesty, instead of sending him 
back at that time to us, to remove him to some remote 
place in his dominions, namely, Naples in Italj', and 
keep him there secretly in the castle, under a borrowed 
Dame. Nevertheless, we having notice of the place 
where he was, did thereupon dispatch to the emperor our 
privy-counsellor, Peter Tolstoy, aud the captain of our 
guard, aforesaid, with a most pressing letter, representing 
how unjust it would ^e to detain our son, contrary to all 
laws, divine and human, according to which private 
parents, atid with much more reason those who are be 
sides invested with a sovereign authority as we are, have 
an unlimited power over their children, independently 
of any other judge ; and we set forth on one side, the 
just and atfectionate manner with which we had alwayb 
used our son, and, on the other, his disobedience ; re- 
Dresenting, in the conclusion, the ill consequences and 
animosities which the refusal of delivering up our son 
to us might occasion, because we would not leave this 
affair in that condition. We, at the same time, ordered 
those we sent with that letter, to make verbal remon- 
strances even in more pressing terms, and to declare that 
we should be obliged to revenge, by all possible methods, 
such detaining our sou. We wrote likewise a letter to 
him with our own hand, to represent to him the horror 
and impiety of his conduct, and the enormity of the crime 
he had committed against us his father, and how God 
t^reateued in his laws to punish disobedient children 
with eternal death : we threatened him, as a father, with 
our curses, and, as his lord, to declare him a traitor to his 
country, unless he returned, and obeyed our commands ; 
and gave him assurance, that if he did as we desired, and 
returned, we would pardon his crime. Our envoj-s, after 
many solicitations, and the above representation, made 
by us in wriiiiij:. at last obtained leave of the emperor 
10 go and speak to our »on, in order to dispose him to 


his own wife in favour of a captive, but that 
captive was a person of exemplary merit, and 

return home. The imperial minister gave them at the 
sime time to understaad, that our son had informed the 
ernperor that we persecuted him, and that his life was not 
safe with us. whereby he moved the emperor's compas- 
sion, and induced him to take him into his protection ; 
out that the emperor, taking now into his consideration 
our true and solid representations, promised to use his 
utmost endeavour to dispose him to return to ns ; and 
would, moreover, declare to him, that he could not in 
>astice and equity refuse to deliver him to his father, or 
have any difference with us on that account. Our en- 
voys, upon their arrival at Naples, having desired to 
deliver to him our letter, written with our hand, sent 
us word, that he did rufuse to admit them ; but that the 
emperor's viceroy had found means, by inviting him to his 
house, to present them to him afterwards, much against his 
will. He did then, indeed, receive our letter, containing our 
paternal exhortation, and threatening our curse, but with- 
OQt shewing the least inclinatioi to return ; alleging still 
a great many falsities and calumnies against us, as if, 
by reason of several dangers he had to apprehend from 
us, he could not, nor would not return ; and boasting, 
that the emperor had not only promised to defend and pro- 
tect him against us, but even to set him upon the throne 
of Russia against our will, by force of arms. Our en- 
voys perceiving this evil disposition, tried all imaginable 
ways to prevail with him to return, they intreated him, 
they expatiated by turns upon the graciousness of our 
assurances towards him, and upon our threats in case of 
disobedience, and that we would even bring him away 
by force of arms ; they declared to him that the emperor 
would not enter into a war with us on his account, and 
many other such-like representations did they make to 
him. But he paid no regard to all this, nor shewed any 
inclination to return to us, until the imperial viceroy, 
convinced at last of his obstinacy, told him in the em- 
peror's name, that he ought to return ; for that his im- 
perial majesty could cot by any law keep him from ua, 
tior, during the present war wiih Turkey, and also in Italy 


the czar had just cause for discontent against his 
wife, who was at the same time his subject. The 

with Spain, embroil himself with U8 upon his account. 
When he saw how the case stood, fearing he should be 
deliTered up to us, whether he would or not, he at length 
resolved to return home ; and declared his mind to our 
envoys, and to the imperial viceroj' : he likewise wrote 
the same thing to us, acknowledging himself to be a cri- 
minal, and blameworthy. Now although our son, by so 
long a course of criminal disobedience agairist us, his fa- 
ther and lord, for many years, and particularly for the 
dishonour he hath cast upou us in the face of the world, 
by withdrawing himself, and raising calumnies against us, 
as if we were an unnatural father, and for opposing his 
sovereign, hath deserved to be punished with death ; yet 
our paternal affection inclines us to have mercy upon him, 
and we therefore pardon bis crimes, and exempt him from 
all punishment for the same. But considering his un- 
worthiness, we cannot in conscience, leave him after 
us the succession to the throne of Russia ; foreseeing 
that, by his vicious courses, he would entirel3' destroy 
the glory of our nation and the safety of our dominions, 
which, through God's assistance, we have acquired and 
established by incessant application ; for it is notorious 
and known to every one, how much it hath cost us, and 
with what efforts we have not only recovered the provinces 
which the enemy had usurped from our empire, but also 
conquered several considerable towns and sountries, and 
with what care we have caused our people fc be instructed 
in all sorts of civil and military sciences, to the glory 
and advantage of the nation and empire. Now, as we 
•bould pity our states and faithful subjects, if, by such a 
taccesBor, we should throw them back into a much worse 
condition than ever they were yet ; so, by the paternal 
authority', in virtue of which, b3' the laws of our empire, 
any of our subjects m»y disinherit a son, and give his 
Buccession to such other of his sons, as he pleases ; and, 
in quality of sovereign prince, iu consideration of the 
safety of our dominions, we do deprive our said soa 
.Alexis, for his crimes and unwoniiiness, of the succession 
after us to the throne of Russia, ereD though there should 


czarowitz, on the coutrary, had abandoned hie 
pnncess for a young woman, hardly known to any 
one, and who had no other merit but that of per- 
sonal cuarms. So far there appears some errors 
of a young man, which a parent onght to re- 
primand in secret, and -which he might have 

The czar, in his maiiifesto, next reproaches his 
son with his flight to Vienna, and his having 
put himself under the emperor's protection ; and 
adds, that he had calumniated his father, by tell- 
ing the emperor that he was persecuted by him ; 
and that he had compelled him to renounce the 
succession; and, lastly, that he had made inter- 
cession with the emperor to assist him with an 
armed force. 

Here it immediately occurs, that the emperor 

not remain one single person of our faniilj after us. 
And we do constitute and declare successor to the said 
throne after us, our second son Peter, though yet verj' 
young, having no successor that is older. We lay upon 
our said son Alexis our paternal curse, if ever at any time 
he pretends to, or reclaims, the said succession ; and we 
desire our faithful subjects, whether ecclesiastics or secu- 
lars, of all ranks and conditions, and the whole Russian 
nation, in conformity to this constitution and our will, to 
acknowledge and consider our said son Peter, appointed 
by our constitution, to confirm the whole by oath, before 
the holy altar, upon the holy gospel, kissing the cross; 
and all thobe who shall ever, at any time, oppose this our 
will, and who, from this day forward, shall dare to con- 
sider our son Alexis, as successor, or to assist him for 
that purpose, declare them traitors to us and their country. 
And we Lave ordered that these presents shall be every 
where published and promulgated, to the end that no per- 
•on may pretend ignorance. — Given at JIoscow, the third 
of February, 1718. Signed with cur hand, and 
with our seal. 

' PETER.' 


could not. with any propriety, have entered into 
a war with the czar on such an occasion ; nor 
could he have interposed otherwise between an 
incensed fatlier and a disobedient son, than by 
his good offices to promote a reconciliation. Ac- 
cordingly we find, that Charles VI. contented 
himself with giving a temporary asylum to the 
fugitive prince, and -eadily sent him back on the 
first requisition of the czar, in consequence of 
being informed of the place his son had chosen 
for his retreat. 

Peter adds, in this terrible piece, that Alexis 
had persuaded the emperor, that he went in 
danger of his life, if he returned back to Russia. 
Surely it was in some measure justifying these 
complaints of the prince, to condemn him to death 
at his return, and especially after so solemn a 
promise to pardon him ; but we shall see, in the 
course of this history, the cause which afterwards 
moved the czar to denounce this ever-memorable 
sentence. For the present let us turn our eyes 
upon an absolute prince, pleading against his son 
before an august assembly. — 

' In this manner,' says he, ' has our son re- 
turned ; and although, by his withdrawing him- 
self and raising calumnies against us, he has 
deserved to be punished with death, yet, out of 
our paternal affection, we pardon his crimes ; but, 
ctmsidering his unworthiness, and the series of 
his irregular conduct, we cannot ul conscience 
leave him the succession to the throne of Russia; 
foreseeing that, by his vicious courses, he would, 
after our decease, entirely destroy the glory of 
our nation , and the safety of our dominions, which 
we have recovered from the enemy. 

' Now, as we should pity our states and our 
faithful subjects, if, by such a successor, we should 
throw them back into a much worse condition 


than ever they were yet ; so, by the paternal au- 
thority, iind, in quality of sovereign prince, in 
consideration of tbe safety of our dominions, we 
do deprive our said son Alexis, for his crimes 
and unvvorthirjess, of the succession after us to 
our throne of Russia, even though there should 
not remain one single person of our family 
after us. 

* And we do constitute and declare successor 
to the said throne after us, our second son, 
Peter,* though yet very young, having no succes- 
sor that is older. 

' We lay upon our said son Alexis our pater- 
nal curse, if ever at any time he pretends to, or 
reclaims, the said succession. 

' And we desire our faithful subjects, whether 
ecclesiastics or seculars, of all ranks and condi- 
tions, and the whole Russian nation, in confor- 
mity to this constitution and our will, to acknow- 
ledge and consider our son Peter, appointed by 
us to succeed, as lawful successor, and agreeably 
to this our constitution, to confirm the whole by 
oath before the holy altar, upon the holy gospel, 
kissing the cross. 

' And all those who shall ever at any time op- 
pose this our will, and who, fiom this day for- 
ward, shall dare to consider our son Alexia as 
successor, or assist him for that purpose, declare 
them traitors to us and our country. And we 
have ordered that these presents shall be every 
where published and promulgated, to the end 
that no person may pretend ignorance.' 

It would seem that this declaration had been 
prepared beforehand for the occasion, or that it 
had been drawn up with astonishing dispatch : 

• This was the son of the empress Catherine, 
who died April 15, 1719- 


for the czarowitz did not return to Moscow till 
the 13th of February, and his renunciation in 
favour of the empress Catherine's son is dated 
the 14th. 

The prince on his part signed his renunciation, 
whereby he acknowledges his exclusion to be 
just, as having merited it by his own fault and 
unworthiness ; ' And I do hereby swear,' adds 
he, ' in presence of God Almighty in the Holy 
Trinity, to subrai*^ in all thmgs to my father's 
will,' Slc. 

These instruments being signed, the czar went 
in procession to the cathedral, where they were 
read a second time, when the whole body of 
clergy signed their approbation with their seals 
at the bottom, to a copy prepared for that pur- 
pose.' No prince was ever disinherited in so 
authentic a manner. There are many states in 

• At tho same time confirming it by an oath, the form 
of which was asfollowt* : ' I swear before Almighty God, 
and upon his holy i^ospel, that whereas our most gracious 
sovereign, the czar Peter Alexiowitz, has caused circular 
letters to be published through his empire, to notify thai 
he has thought fit to exclude Ins son, prince Alexis Pe- 
trowitz, from the throne of Russia, and to appoint for his 
successor to the crown his second son, the prince royal 
Peter Petrowitz ; I do acknowledge this order and regu- 
lation made by his majesty in favour of the said princ« 
Peter Petrowiiz, to ho just and lawful, and entirely con- 
form and submit myself to the same ; promising always 
to acknowledge the said prince royal Peter Petrowitz for 
big lawful successor, and to stand by him on all occa- 
sions, even to the loss of my life, against all such as 
■hall presume to oppose the said succession ; and that 1 
nev*r will, on any pretence whatsoever assist the prince 
Alexi<» Petrowitz, nor in any manner whatsoever contri- 
bate to procure him the succession. And this I so- 
lemnly promise by my oath on the joly gospel, bi«<)ifig 
th« holy crost thereupon.' 


which an act of this kind \^ luld be of no vali- 
ility ; but ia Russia, as in ancient Rome, every 
father has a power of depriving his son of his 
succession, and this power was still stronger in a 
sovereign than in a private subject, and especi- 
ally in such a sovereign as Peter. 

But; nevertheless, it was to be apprehended, 
that those who had encouraged the prince in his 
opposition to his father's will, and had advised 
him to withdraw himself from his court, might 
one day endeavour to set aside a renunciation 
which had been procured by force, and restore to 
the eldest son that crown which had been vio- 
lently snatched from him to place on the head 
of a younger brother by a second marriage. In 
this case it was easy to foresee a civil war, and a 
total subversion of all the great and useful pro- 
jects which Peter had so much laboured to esla- 
blish ; and therefore the present matter in ques- 
tion was to determine between the welfare of near 
eighteen millions of souls (which was nearly the 
number which the empire of Russia contained 
at that time), and the interest of a single person 
incapable of governing. Hence it became ne- 
cessary to find out those who were disaffected, 
and accordingly the czar a second time threat- 
ened his son with the most fatal consequences if 
he concealed any thing : and the prince was 
obliged to undergo a judicial examination by hia 
father, and afterwards by the commissioners ap- 
pointed for that purpose. 

One principal article of the charge brought 
against him, and that which served chiefly to his 
condemnation, was, a letter from one Beyer, the 
emperor's resident at the ccart of Russia, dated 
at Petersh'.iicj, after the flight of the prince. Thia 
letter makes mention of a mutiny in the Russian 
army then assembled at Mecklenburg, and thai 


several officers talked of clapping up Catherine 
and her son in the prison where the late empress, 
whom Peter had repudiated, was then confined, 
and of pla:ing the czarowitz on the throne, as 
soon as he could be found out and brought 
back. These idle projects fell to the ground of 
themselves, and there was not the least appr-ar- 
auce that Alexis had ever countenanced them. 
The whole was only a piece of news related by a 
foreigner ; the letter itself was not directed to 
the prince, ana he had only a copy thereof trans- 
mitted him while at Vienna. 

But a charge of a more grievous nature appear- 
ed against him, namely, the heads of a letter 
written with his own hand, and which he ha.l 
sent, while at the court of Vienna, to the senators 
and prelates of Russia, in which were the fol- 
lowing very strong assertions : — ' The continual 
ill-treatment which I have suffered without hav- 
ing deserved it, have at length obliged me to 
consult my peace and safety by flight. I have 
narrowly escaped being confined in a convent, 
by those who have already served my mother in 
the same manner. I am now under the protec- 
tion of a great prince, and I beseech vou not to 
abandon me in this conjuncture.' 

The expression, in this coujunctiire, which 
might be construed into a seditious meaning, ap- 
peared to have been blotted out, and then in- 
aerted again by his own hand, and afterwards 
blotted out a second time : which shewed it to 
be the action of a young man disturbed in bin 
mind, following the dictates of his resentment, 
and repenting of it at the very instant. There 
were only the copies of these letters found ; 
they were never sent to the persoiis they were 
designed for, the court of Vienna having taken 
care to stop tliem ; a convincing proof that tli* 


emperor never intended to break with the czar, 
or to assist the son to take up arms against his 

Several -witnesses were brought to confront the 
prince, and one of them, named Afanassief, de- 
posed, that he had formerly heard him speak 
ihppe words, — ' I shall mention something to the 
bishops, who will mention it again to the lower 
clergy, and they to the parish pjiests, and the 
crown w ill be placed on my head whether I will 
or not.' 

His own mistress, Aphrosyne, was likewise 
brought to give evidence against him. The 
charge, however, was not well supported in all 
its parts; there did not appear to have been any 
regular plan formed, any chain of intrigues, or 
any thing like a conspiration or combination, nor 
the least shadow of preparation for a change in 
the government. The '-vhole affair was that of a 
son, of a depraved and factious disposition, who 
thought himself injured by his father, who fled 
from him, and who w ished for his death ; but 
this son was heir to the greatest monarchy incur 
hemisphere, and in his situation and place be 
could not be guilty of trivial faults. 

After the accusations of his mistress, another 
witness was brought against him, in relation to 
the former czarina his mother, and the princess 
jMary his sister. He was char^ied with having 
ironsulted the former in regard to his flight, and 
of having mentioned it to the princess Mary. 
The bishop of Rostow, who was the confidant of 
all three, having been seized, deposed, that the 
two princesses, who were then shut up in a con- 
vent, had expressed their wishes for a n-volu- 
tion in affairs that might restore them their li» 
berty, and had even encouraged the prince, hf 
clieir advice, to withdra.v himseh" out of th<" 


kingdom. The more natural their resentment 
was, the more it was to be apprehended. We 
shall see, at the end of this chapter, what kind 
of a person the bishop of Rostow was, and what 
had been his conduct. 

The czarowitz at first denied several facts of 
this nature which were alleged against him, and 
by this very behaviour subjected himself to the 
punishment of death, with which his father had 
threatened him in case he did not make an open 
and sincere confession. 

At last, however, he acknowledged several 
disrespectful expressions against his father, 
which were laid to his charge, but excused him- 
self by saying, he lr>d been hurried away by 
passion and drink. 

The czar himself drew up several new interro- 
gations. The fourth ran as follows : — 

' When you found by Beyer's letter that there 
was a mutiny among the troops in Mecklenburg, 
you seemed pleased with it ; you must certainly 
have had some reason for it ; and 1 imagine you 
woald have joined the rebels even during my 
life-time V 

i'his was interrogating the prince on the sub- 
ject of his private thoughts, which, though they 
might be revealed to a father, who may, by his 
advice, correct them, yet might they also with 
justice be concealed from a judge, who decides 
only upon acknowledged facts. The private 
sentiments of a man's heart have nothing to do 
in a criminal j)roce8s, and the ])rince was at 
liberty either to deny them or disguise them, 
in such manner as he should think best for his 
own safety, as being under no obligation to lay 
open his heart, and yet we find him returning the 
following answer : ' If the rebels had called 
upon me during your life-time, 1 do verily be- 


lieve 1 should have joined them, supposing I had 
found them suflBciently strong.' 

It is hardly conceivable tliat he could have 
made this reply of himself, and it would be full 
fts extraordinarv, at least according to the custom 
In our part of the world, to condemn a person 
for confessing that he might have thought in a 
certain manner in a conjuncture that never 

To this strange confession of his private 
thoughts, which had till then been concealed in 
the bottom of his heart, they added proofs that 
rould hardly b« admitted as such in a court of 
justice in any other country. 

The prince, sinking under his misfortunes, and 
almost deprived of his senses, studied within 
himself, with all the ingenuity of fear, for what- 
ever could most effectually serve for his destruc- 
tion ; and at length acknowledged, that in pri- 
vate confession to the archpriest James, he had 
wished his father dead ; and that his confessor 
made answer, ' God will pardon you tins wish •. 
we all wish the same.' 

The canons of our church do not admit of 
proofs resulting from private confession, inas- 
much as they are held inviolable secrets between 
God and the penitent : and both the Greek and 
Latin churches are agreed, that this intimate and. 
secret correspondence between a sinner and the 
Deity are beyond the cognizance of a temporal 
court of justice. But here the welfare of a 
kingdom and a king were concerned. The arch- 
priest, being put to the torture, confirmed all 
that the prince had revealed ; and this trial fur- 
nished the unprecedented instance of a confessor 
accused by his penitent, and that penitent by 
bis own mistress. To this may be added another 
singular circumstance, namely, the archbishop 


of Rezan having been involved in several accu- 
sations on account of having spoken too favour- 
ably of the young czarowitz in one of his sermons, 
at the time that his father's resentment first 
broke out against him ; that weak prince de- 
clared, in his answer to one of the interroga- 
tions, that he had depended on the assistance of 
that prelate, at the same time that he was at the 
head of the ecclesiastical court, which the czar 
had consulted in relation to this criminal pro- 
cess against his son, as we bhall see in the course 
of this chapter. 

There is another remark to be made in this ex- 
traordinary trial, which we find so very lamely 
related in the absurd History of Peter the Great, 
by the pretended bojar Nestersuranoy, and that 
is the following : 

Among other answers which the czarowitz 
Alexis made to the first question put to him by 
his father, he acknowledges, that while he was 
at Vienna, finding thai he could not be admitted 
to see the emperor, he applied himself to count 
Schonborn, the high chamberlain, who told him, 
the emperor would not abandon him, and that as 
soon as occasion should offer, by the death of 
his father, that he would assist him to recover 
the throne by force of arms. ' Upon which,' 
adds the prince, ' I made him the following 
answer : " This is what I by no means desire : if 
the emperor will only grant me his protection 
for the present, I ask no more." ' This deposi- 
tion is plain, natural, and carries with it strong 
marks of the truth ; for it would have been the 
height of madness to have asked the emperor 
for an armed force to dethrone his father, 
and no one would have ventured to have made 
such an absurd proposal, either to the emperor, 
prince Eugene, or to the council. This deposi- 


tion bears date in the month of February, and 
four months afterwards, namely, after the lat of 
July, and towards the latter end of the proceed- 
ings against the czarowitz, that prince is made 
to say, in the last answers he delivered in writ- 
ing :— 

' Being unwilling to imitate my father in any 
thing, I endeavoured to secure myself the suc- 
cession by any means whatever, excepting such as 
were just. 1 attempted to get it by a foreign 
assistance; and, had I succeeded, and that the 
emperor had fulfilled what he had promised me, to 
replace me on the throne of Russia even by force 
of arms, I would have left nothing undone to 
have got possession of it. For instance, if the 
emperor had demanded of me, in return for his 
services, a body of my own troops to fight for 
him against any power whatever, that might be 
in arms against him, or a large sum of money 
to defray the charges of a war, I should have 
readily granted every tbing he asked, and should 
have gratified his ministers and generals with 
magnificent presents. I would at my own ex- 
pense have maintained the auxiliary troops he 
might have furnished to put me in possession of 
the crown ; and, in a word, I should have thought 
nothing too much to have accomplished my ends.' 

This answer seems greatly strained, and ap- 
pears as if the unhappy deponent was exerting 
his utmost efforts to appear more culpable than 
he really was ; nay, he seems to have spoken 
absolutely contrary to truth in a capital point. 
He says the emperor had promised to procure 
him the by foree of arms. This is ab- 
solutely false : Schonborn had given him hopes 
that, after the death of his father, the emperor 
might assist him to recover his birth-right ; but 
the emperor himself never made him any pro- 


mise. And lastly, the matter in question wa« 
not if he should take arms against his father, but 
if he should succeed him after his death! 

By this last deposition he declares what he 
believes he should have done, had he been ob- 
liged to dispute his birth-right, vrhich he had 
not formally renounced till after his journey to 
Vienna and Naples. Here then we have a 
second deposition, not of any thing he had al- 
ready done, and the actual commission of which, 
would have subjected him to the rigorous in- 
quiry of the law, but of what he imagines he 
should have done had occasion offered, and 
which consequently is no subject of a juridical 
inquiry- Thus does he twice together accuse 
himself of private thoughts that he might have 
entertained in a future time. The known world 
does not produce an instance of a man tried 
and condemned for vague and inconsequential 
notions that came into his head, and which he 
never communicated to any one ; nor is there 
a court of justice in Europe that will hear a 
man accuse himself of criminal thoughts ; nay, 
we believe that they are not punished by God 
himself, unless accompanied by a fixed resolu- 
tion to put them in practice. 

To these natural reflections it may be an- 
swered, that the czarowitz had given his father 
a just right to punish him, by having withheld 
the names of several of the accomplices of hig 
flight. His pardon was promised him only on 
condition of making a full and open confession, 
which he did not till it was too late. Lastly, 
after so public an affair, it was not in human 
nature that Alexis should ever forgive a brother 
in favour of whom he had been disinherited ; 
therefore, it was thought better to punish one 
guilty person, than to expose a whole nation to 


danger, and herein the rigour of justice and rea- 
sons of state acted iu concert. 

We must not judge of the manners and laws of 
one nation b^- those of others. The czar was 
possessed cf the fatal, but incontestable right of 
punishing his son ■with death, for the single crime 
of having withdrawn himself out of the kingdom 
against his consent ; and he thus explains himself 
in his declaration addressed to the prelates and 
others, who composed the high courts of justice. 
' Th.ugh, according to all laws, civil and divine; 
and especially those of this empire, which grant 
an absolute jurisdiction to fathers over their 
children (even fathers in private life) we have 
a full and unlimited power to judge our son for 
his crimen according to our pleasure, without 
asking the advice of any person whatsoever; yet, 
as men are more liable to prejudice and partiality 
in their own affairs, than in those of others, and 
as the most eminent and expert physicians rely 
not on their judgment concerning themselves, but 
call in the advice and assistance of others ; so 
we, under the fear of God, and an awful dread of 
offending him, in like manner make known our 
disease, and apply to you for a cure; being ap- 
'^'ehensive cf eternal death, if ignorant perhaps 
I f the nature of our distemper, we should attempt 
to cure ourselves ; and the rather as in a solemn 
appeal to Almighty God, I have signed, 3wom» 
and confirmed a promise of pardon to my son, in 
case he should declare to me the truth. 

' And though he has violated this promise, by 
concealing the most important circumstances of 
his rebellious design against us ; yet that we may 
not in an) thing swerve from our obligations, we 
pray you to consider this affair with seriousness 
and attention, nnd report what punishment he 
deserves without favour or partiality either to him 


or me ; for should you apprehend that he deserves 
but a slight punishment, it will be disagreeable 
to me. I swear to you by the great God and his 
judgments, that you have notliing to fear on this 

' Neitlier let the reflection of your being to pass 
sentence on the son of your prince have any in- 
fluence on you, but administer justice without 
respec* of persons, and destroy not your own 
souls and mine also, by doing any thing to injure 
our country, or upbraid our consciences in the 
great and terrible day of judgment. ' 

The czar afterwards addressed himself to the 
clergy,* by another declaration to the same pur- 
pose; so that every thing was transacted in the 
most authentic manner, and Peter's behaviour 
through the whole of this afi'air was so open and 

• His declaration to the clergy concluded in this man- 
ner : — ' Though this affair does not fall within the verge 
of the spiritual, but of the civil jurisdiction, and we have 
this day referred it to the imperial decision of the secular 
court, but remembering that passage in the word of God, 
which requires us on such occasions to consult the priests 
and elders of the church, in order to know the will of 
Heaven, and being desirous of receiving all possible in- 
structions in a matter of such importance, we desire of 
you, the archbishops, and the whole ecclesiastical state, 
as teachers of tlie word of God, not to pronounce judg- 
ment in this case, but to examine and give us your opinion 
concerning it, according to the sacred oracles, from whom 
we ma3' be best informed what punishment my son de- 
serves, and that j-ou will give it us iu writiog under yoar 
hands, that being properly instructed herein, we may lay 
no burthen on our conscience. We therefore repose our 
confidence in you, that, as guardians of the divine laws, as 
faithful pastors of the Christian flock, and as well affected 
t3ward8 your country, you will act suitable to your dig- 
nity, conjuring you by that dignitj', and the holiness ot 
your function, to proceed withou: fear or dissimulation. 


andisguised, as shewed him to be fully satisfied 
of the justice of his cause. 

On the first of July the clergy delivered their 
opinion in writing. In fact, it was their opinion 
only, and not a judgment, which the czar required 
of them. The beginning is deserving the atten- 
tion cf all Europe. 

* This affair (say the prelates and the rest of the 
clergy) does in no wise fall within the verge of 
the ecclesiastical court, nor is the absolute power 
invested in the sovereign of the Russian empire 
subject to the cognizance of his people ; but he 
has au unlimited powrr of acting herein as to 
him shall seem best, without any inferior having 
a right to intermeddle therein.' 

Afier their preamble they proceed to cite 
several texts of scripture, particularly Leviticus, 
wherein it is said, ' Cursed be he that curseth his 
father or mother ;' and the gospel of St. Matthew, 
which repeats this severe denunciation. And 
they concluded, after several other quotations,* 
with these remarkable words : 

• Besides the particular passages in holy writ cited on 
this occasion, which were, Levit. sx. 1, 9- Dent. xxxi. 
Matt. TX. 1. Mark vii. 9. Rom. i. 28. Ephes vi. 1. those 
from the constitutions of the empire were as follows : * If 
any person, by any ill design, forms any attempt against 
the health of the czar, or does any thing to his prejudice, 
and is found inclined to execute his pernicious designs, 
let hioi be put to death, after he is convicted (hereof.* 
Stat.l. ' la like manner, if any ODt, during the reign of 
his czarian majesty, through a desire \o reign in the empire 
of Russia, and put the czar to death, shall begin to raise 
troops with this pernicious view ; or if any one shall form 
an alliance with the enemies of his czarian majesty, or 
hold a correspondence with th^m, or assist ihemlo arrije 
at the goTernment, or raise any other disorder ; if any one 
declare it, and the truth be found out upon such declara- 
UoQ, lei the traitor suffer death npon conviction of tlM 


• If his majesty is inclinable to puuish the of- 
fender according to his deeds and the measure of 
his crimes, he has before him the examples in the 
Old Testament ; if on the other hand, he is in- 
clined to shew mercy, he has a pattern in our 
Lord Jesus Clirist, who receives the prodigal son, 
when returning with a contrite heart, who set 
free the woman taken in adultery, whom the law 
sentenced to be stoned to death, and who prefers 
mercy to burnt-oflferings. He has likewise the 
example of David, who spared his son Absalom, 
who had rebelled against and persecuted him, 
saying to his captains, when going forth to the 
fight, " Spare my son Absalom." The father was 
here inclinable to mercy, but divine Justice suf- 
fered not the offender to go unpunished. 

' The heart of the czar is in the hands of God ; 
let him take that side to which it shall please the 
Almighty to direct him.' 

This opinion was signed by eight archbishops 
and bishops, four archpriests, and two professors 
of divinity ; and, as we have already observed, 
the metropolitan archbishop of Rezan, the same 

treason.' Stat. 2. From the military laws the following 
citations were made ; chap. 3. art. 19- ' If any subject 
raises men, and takes up arms against the czanan ma- 
jesty ; or if any person forms a design of takin;; his majesty 
prisoner, or killing him ; or if he offers any violence to 
him; he and all his abettors and adherents shall be quar- 
tered, as guiltj' of treason, and their goods confiscated.' 
To which article ilie following explanation was added: 
'They also shall suffer the ssme punishment, who, though 
thejr have not been able to execute their crime, shall be 
nonvictcd of inclination and desire to commit it ; and like- 
wise, those who shall not have discovered it when it came 
to their knowledge,' chap. 26. an. 37- ' He who forms a 
design of co.TQmitiing any treason, or any other matter of 
the like nature, shaU be punished with the same ca 
punishmeats as if he bad actually executed hia deeigs.' 


with whom the prince had held a correspondence, 
was the first who signed. 

As soon as the clergy had signed this opinion, 
they presented it to the czar. It is easy to per- 
ceive that this body was desirous of inclining 
his mind to clemency ; and nothing can be more 
beautiful than the contrast between the mercy of 
Jesus Christ, and the rigour of the Jewish law, 
placed before the eyes of a father, who was the 
prosecutor of his oAvn son. 

The same day the czarowitz was again exa- 
mined for the last time, and signed his final con- 
fession in writing, wherein he acknowledges him- 
self ' to have been a bigot in his youthful days, 
to have frequented the company of priests and 
monks, to have drank with ihem, and to have 
imbibed from their conversations the first impres- 
sions of dislike to the duties of his station, and 
even to the person of his father.' 

If he made this confession of his own accord, 
it shews that he must have been ignorant of the 
mild advice the body of clergy, whom he thns 
accuses, had lately given his father ; and it is a 
still stronger proof, how great a change the czar 
had wrought in the manners of the clergy of his 
time, who, from a state of the most deplorable 
ignorance, were in so short a time become capa- 
ble of drawing up a writing, which for its wis- 
dom and eloquence might have been owned, 
without a blush, by the most illustrious fathers 
of the church. 

It is in this last confession that the czarowitz 
made that declaration on which we have alreadj 
commented, viz. that he endeavoured to secure 
to himself the succession by any means what- 
ever, except such as were just. 

One would imagine, by this last confession, 
that the prince was apprehensive he had not rea- 


dered himself sufficiently criminal in the eyes of 
his judges, by his former self-accusations, and 
that, by giving himself the character of a dissem- 
bler and a bad man, and supposing how he might 
have acted had he been the master, he was care- 
fully studying how to justify the fatal sentence 
which was about to be pronounced against him, 
and which was done on the jth of July. This 
sentence will be found, at length, at the end of 
this volume ; therefore, we shall only observe in 
this place that it begins, like the opinion of the 
clergy, by declaring, that ' it belongs not to sub- 
jects to take cognizance of such an affair, which 
depends solely on the absolute will of the sove- 
reign, whose authority is derived from God 
alone;' and then, after having set forth the se- 
veral articles of the charge brought against the 
prince, the judges express themselves thus : 
' What shall we think of a rebellious design, al- 
most unparalleled in history, jqined to that of a 
horrid parricide against him, who was his father 
in a double capacity?' 

Probably these words have been wrong trans- 
lated from the trial printed by order of the czar ; 
for certainly there have been instances in history 
of much greater rebellions ; and no part of the 
proceedings against the czarowitz discover any 
design in him of killing his father. Perhaps, by 
the word parricide, is understood the deposition 
made by the prince, that one day he declared at 
confession, that he had wished for the death of 
his father. But, how can a private declaration 
of a secret thought, under the seal of confession, 
be a -double parricide ? 

Be this as it may, the czarowitz was unani- 
mously condemned to die, but no mention was 
made in the sentence of tiie nianner in which be 
was to puffer. Of one hundred and forty four 
O L' 


judges, there was not one who thought of alessei 
punishment than death. Whereas, an English 
tract, which made a great noise at that time, ob- 
serves, that if such a cause had been brought be- 
fore an English parliament, there would not have 
been one judge out of one hundred and forty-four, 
that would have inflicted even a penalty. 

There cannot be a stronger proof of the differ- 
ence of times and places. The consul Maniius 
would have been condemned by the laws of Eng- 
land to lose his own life, for having put his son 
to death : whereas he was admired and extolled 
for that action by the rigid Romans : but the 
same laws would not punish a prince of Wales 
for leaving the kingdom, who, as a peer of the 
realm, has a right to go and come when he 
pleases.* A criminal design, not perpetrated, 
is not punishable by the laws in England t or 
France, but it is in Russia. A continued formal 
and repealed disc^bedience of commands would, 
amongst us, be considered only an error in con- 
duct, \\hich ought to be suppressed ; but, in Rus- 
sia^ it was judged a capital crime in the heir oi 
a great empire, whose ruin might have been the 
consequence of that disobedience. Lastly, the 
czarowitzwas culpable towards the whole nation, 
by his design of throwing h hack into that state 
of darkness and ignorance, from which his father 
had so latelv delivered it. 

;5uch was the acknowledged power of the czar, 
that he might put his sou to death for disobedj- 
"nce to him, without consulting any one ; nev»^r- 

• M. de Voltaire is mistaken in this point ; for, by onr 
laws, no peer of the realm can absent himself from ihr 
service of the parliament during its session, without th« 
liberi/ of the Icir.q: or the house. 

•t This is another mistake ; for it is death by oor law 
10 compass or imagine the death of the sover«ig». 


theless, he submitted the affair to the judgmeat 
of the representatives of the nation, so that it 
■was in fact the nation itself who passed sentence 
on the prince ; and Peter was so well satisfied 
with the equity of his own conduct, that he volun • 
tarily submitted it to the judgment of every other 
nation, by causing the whole proceedings to be 
printed and translated into several languages. 

The law of history would not permit us to dis- 
guise or palliate aught in the relation of this 
tragic event. All Europe was divided in its sen- 
timents, whether most to pity a young prince, 
prosecuted by his own father, and condemned to 
Jose his life, by those who were one day to have 
been his subjects ; or the father, who thought 
himself under a necessity to sacrifice his own son 
to the welfare of his nation. 

It was asserted in several books, published on 
this subject, that the czar sent to Spain for a copy 
of the proceedings against Don Carlos, wlio bad 
been condemned to death by his father, king 
Philip II. But this is false, inasmuch as Don 
Carlos was never brought to his trial : the con- 
duct of Peter I. was totally different from that 
of Philip. The Spanish monarch never made 
known to the world the reasons for which he had 
confined his son, nor in what manner that prince 
died. He wrote letters on this occasion to the 
pope and the empress, which were absolutely 
contradictory to each other. William prince of 
Orange accused Philip publicly of having sacri- 
ficed his son and his wife to his jealousy, and to 
have behaved rather like a jealous and cruel hus- 
band, and an unnatural and murderous father, 
than a severe and upright judge. Philip suffered 
this accusation against him to pass unanswered: 
Peter, on the contrary, did nothing but in the eye 
of the wo:ld ; he openlj declared, that he pre- 


ferred his people to his own son, submittei his 
cause to the judgment of the principal persons 
of his kingdom, and made the whjle world the 
judge of their proceedings and his o^-n. 

There was another extraordinary circumstance 
attending this unhappy aflfair, which was, that 
the empress Catherine, who was hated by the 
czarowitz, and whom he had publicly threatened 
with the worst of treatment, whenever he should 
mount the throne, was not in any way accessary 
to his misfortunes ; and was neither accused, nor 
even suspected by any foreign minister residing at 
the court of Russia, of having taken the least step 
against a son-in-law, from whom she had so 
much to fear. It is true, indeed, that no one 
pretends to say she interceded with the czar for 
his pardon : but all the accounts of these times, 
and especially those of the count de Bassewitz, 
agree, that she was greatly aflfected with his 

I have now before me the memoirs of a public 
minister, in which I find the following words : 

• I was present when the czar told the duke of 
Holstein, that the czarina Catherine, had begged 
of him to prevent the sentence passed upon the 
czarowitz, being i ublicly read to that prince. 

• Content yourself,' said she, ' with obliging him 
to turn monk ; for this public and formal con- 
demnation of your son will reflect an odium on 
your grandson.' 

The czar, however, would not hearken to the 
intercession of his spouse ; he thought there was 
a necessity to have the sentence publicly read to 
the prince himself, in order that he might have 
no pretence left to dis; ute this solemn act, in 
which he himself acquiesced, and that being dead 
in law, he could never after claim a right to the 


Nevertheless, if, after the death of Peter, a 
formidable party had arose in favour of Alexis, 
would his being dead )n law have prevented him 
from ascending the throne 1 

The prince then had his sentence read to him : 
and the memoirs I have just mentioned observe, 
that he fell into a fit on hearing these words : 
' The laws divine and ecclesiastical, civil and 
tuilitary, condemn to death, without mercy, those 
vrhose attempts against their father and their 
sovereign have been fully proved.' These fits it 
is said, turned to an apoplexy, and it was with 
great difficulty he was recovered at that time. 
Afterwards, when he came a little to himself, 
and in the dreadful interval, between life and 
death, he sent for his father to come to him : the 
czar accordingly went, acd both father and son 
burst into a flood of tears, llie unhappy culprit 
asked his offended parent's forijiveness, which be 
gave him publicly : then, being in the agonies of 
dealh, ext'reme unction was administered to him 
in the most solemn manner, and soon after be ex- 
pired in the jire.sence of the whole court, the day 
after the fatal sentence had been pronounced 
upon him. His Ixxly was immediately carried 
to the cathedral, where it lay in state, exposed to 
public view for four days, alter vhich it was in- 
terred in tlie church of tlie citadel, by the side of 
his late princess; the czar and czarina assisting 
at the funeral. 

And here 1 think myself indispensably obliged 
to imitate, in some measure, the conduct of the 
crar ; that is to say, to submit to the judgment 
of the public, the several facts which J have re- 
lated with most scrupulous exactness, and not 
only the facts themselves, but likewise the va- 
rious reports which were propagated in relatioa 
to them, by author* oi the fir«t credit. Lamberti, 


the most impartial of any -writer on this subject 
and at the same lime the most exact, and who 
has confined himself to tlie simple narrative of the 
original and authentic pieces, relating to the af- 
fairs of Kurope, seems in this matter to have de- 
parted from that impartiality and discernment for 
which he is so remarkable ; for he thus expresses 

' The czarina, ever anxious for the fortune of 
her own son, did not suffer the czar to rest till 
she had obliged him to commence the proceed- 
ings against the czarow-itz, and to prosecute that 
unhappy prince to death : and, what is still more 
extraordinary, the czar, after having given him 
the knout * -which is a kind of torture^ with his 
0T\Ti hand, was himself his executioner, by cutting 
off his head, -which was afterwards so artfully 
joined to the body, that the separation could not 
be perceived, when it was exposed to public 
view. Some little time afterwards, the czarina's 
son died, to the inexpressible regret of her and 
the czar. This latter, whu had beheaded his own 
son, coming now to reflect, that he had no suc- 
cessor, grew exceedingly lil-tempered. Much 
about that time also, he was informed, that his 
spouse, the czarina, was engaged in a secret and 
criminal correspondence with prince Menzikoff. 
This, joined to the reflection, that she had been 
the cause of his putting to death with his own 
hand his eldest son, made him conceive a design 
to strip her of the imperial honours, and shut hei 
up in a convent, in the same manner as he had 
done his first wife, who is still living there. It 
"was a custom with the czar to keep a kind ol 
diary of his private thoughts in his pocket book, 
and he had accordingly entered therein a memo- 
randum of this his intention. The czarina having 
found mea:;s to oaia over to her interest all tha 


pnges of the czar's bed-chamber, one of them 
finding his pocket-book, which he had carelessly 
left on the table, brought it to Catherine, who 
upon reading this memorandum, immediately 
sent for prince Menzikoff, and communicated it 
to him, and, in a day or two afterwards, the czar 
was seized with a violent distemper, of which he 
died. Jhis distemper was attributed to poison, 
on account of its being so sudden and violent, 
that it could not be supposed to proceed from a 
uatural cause, and that the horrible act of poison 
ing was but too frequently used in Russia.' 

These accusations, thus handed down by Lam- 
berti, were soon spread throughout Europe; and, 
as there still exist a great number of pieces, both 
in print and manuscript, which may give a sanc- 
tion to the belief of this fact to the latest poste- 
rity, I think ii is ray duty to mention, in this 
place, what is come to my knowledge from un- 
exceptionable authority. 

In the first place, then, I take it upon me to 
declare, that the person who furnished Lam- 
berti with this strange anecdote, was in fact a 
native of Russia, but of a foreign extraction, and 
who himsflf did not reside in that country, at the 
time this event happened, having left it several 
years before. I was formerly acquainted with 
him ; he had been in company v-ith Lamberti, 
at the little town of Nyon,* whither that writer 
had retired, and where I myself have often been, 
'J'his very n>an declared to me, that he bad 
never told this story to Lamberti, but in the light 
of a report, which had been handed about at that 

This example may suffice to shew, how easy it 

* Or Kions, the capital of MoDtauban, in Dauphiue, 
in France, situate on the river Aigues, over which is a 
briilge, said to be a Roman work. 


was in former times, before the art of printing 
was found out, for one man to destroy the repu- 
tation of another, in the minds of vsliole nations^ 
by reason that manuscript histories were in a few 
hands only, and not exposed to general exami- 
nation and censure, or of the observations of con- 
temporaries, as they now are. A single line in 
Tacitus or Sallust, nay, even in the authors of the 
most fabulous legends was enough to render a 
great prince odious to the half of mankind, and 
to perpetuate his name with infamy to successive 

How was it possible that the czar could have 
beheaded his son with his own hand, when ex- 
treme unction was administered to the latter in 
the presence of the whole court ? Was he dead 
when the sacred oil was poured upon his head 1 
When or how could this dissevered head have 
been rejoined to its trunk 1 It is notorious, that 
the prince was not left alone a single moment, 
from the first reading of his sentence to him to 
the instant of his death. 

Besides, tins story of the czar's having had re- 
course to the sword, acquits him at least of hav- 
ing made use of poison. I will allow, that it is 
somewhat uncommon, that a young nian in the 
vigour of his days should die of a sudden fright, 
occasioned by hearing the sentence of his own 
death read to him, and especially when it was a 
sentence that he expected ; but, after all, physi- 
cians will tell us that this is not a thing impos- 

If the czar dispatched his son by poison, as so 
many authors would persuade us, he by that 
means deprived himself of every advantage he 
might expect from this fatal process, in convincing 
all Europe that he had a right to punish every 
delinquent. He rendered all the reasons for pro- 


nouncing the condemnation of the czarowitz sus- 
pected ; and, in fact, accused himself. If he was 
desirous of the death of his son, he was hi pos- 
session of full power to have caused the sentence 
to be put in execution : would a man of any pru- 
dence then, would a sovereign, ou whom the 
eyes of all his neighbours were fixed, have taken 
the base and dastardly method of poisoning the 
person, over whose devoted head he himself al- 
ready held the sword of justice ? Lastly, would 
he have suffered his memory to have been trans- 
mitted to posterity as nn assassin and a poisoner, 
when he could so easily have assumed the cha- 
racter of an upright though severe judge 1 

It appears then, from all that has been deli- 
vered on this subject in the preceding pages, that 
Peter was more the king than the parent ; and 
that he sacrificed his own son to the sentiments 
of the father and lawgiver of his country, and to 
the interest of his people, who, without this 
wholesome severity, were on the verge of re- 
lapsing again into that state from which he had 
taken them. It is evident that he did not sa- 
crifice this son to the ambition of a step-mother, 
or to the son he had by her, since he had often 
threatened the czarowitz to disinherit him, be- 
fore Catherine brought him that other son, whose 
infirm infancy gave signs of a speedy death, 
which actually happened in a very short time 
afterwards. Had Peter taken this important 
step merely to please his wife, he must have 
been a fool, a madman, or a coward ; neither of 
which, most certainly, could be laid to his charge. 
But he foresaw what would be the fate of his es- 
tablishments, and of Ids new-born nation, if he 
had such a successor as wouKl not adopt hia 
views, 'ihe event has verified this foresight • 
the Russian empire is become famous and re* 


special fe throughout Europe, from which it was 
before eiuirely separated ; whereas, had the 
czarowitz succeeded to the throne, every thing 
would have been destroyed. In fine, when this 
catastrophe comes to he seriously considered, 
the compassionate heart shudders, and the rigid 

This great and terrible event is still fresh in 
the memories of mankind ; and it is frequently 
spoken of as a matter of so much surprise, that 
it is absolutely necessary to examine what con- 
temporary writer? have said of it. One of these 
hireling scribblers, who has taken on him the title 
of historian, speaks thus of it in a work which 
he has dedicated to count Bruhl, prime ministe) 
to his Polish majesty, whose name indeed may 
seem to give some weight to what he advances. 
' Russia was convinced that the czarowitz owed 
his death to poison, which had been given him 
by his mother-in-law.' But this accusation is 
overturned by the declaration which the czar 
made to the duke of Holstein, that the empress 
Catherine had advised him to confine his son in 
a monastery. 

With regard to the poison which the empress 
is said to have given afterwards to her husband, 
that story is sufficiently destroyed by the simple 
relation of the affair of the page and pocket-book. 
What man would think of making such a memo- 
randum as this, ' I must remember to confine my 
wife in a convent V Is this a circumstance of so 
trivial a nature, that it must be set down lest it 
should be forgotten ? If Catherine had poisoned 
her son-in-law and her husband she would have 
committed crimes; whereas, so far from being 
suspected of cruelty, she had a remarkable cha- 
racter for lenity and sweetness of temper. 

It may now be proper to shew what was 'be 


first cause of the behaviour of the czarowitz, of 
his flight, and of his death, and that of his ac- 
complices, who fell by the hands of the execu- 
tioner. It was owing then to mistaken notions 
in religion, and to a superstitious fondness for 
priests and monks. That this was the real 
Bource from whence all his misfortunes were de- 
rived, is sufficiently apparent from his own con- 
fession, which we have already set before the 
reader, and in particular, by that expression of 
the czar in his letter to his unhappy son, ' A 
corrupt priesthood will be able to turn vou at 

The following is, almost word for word, the 
manner in which a certain ambassador to the 
court of Russia explains these words. — Several 
ecclesiastics, says he, fond of the ancient bar- 
barous customs, and regretting the authority they 
had lost by the nation having become more civi- 
lized, wished earnestly to see prince Alexis on 
the throne, from whose known disposition they 
expected a return of those days of ignorance and 
superstition which were so dear to them. In the 
number of these was Dozitbeus, bishop of Ros- 
tow. This prelate feigned a revelation from St. 
Demetrius, and that the saint had appeared to 
him, and had assured him as from God himself, 
that the czar would not live above three months ; 
that the empress Eudocia, who was then confined 
in the convent of Sii8dal(and had taken the veil 
under the name of sister Helena), and the prin- 
cess iJary the czar's sis'.er, should ascend the 
throne and reign jointly with prince Alexis. Eu- 
docia and the princess Mary were weak enough to 
credit this imposture, and were even so persuaded 
of the truth of this prediction, that the former 
quitted her habit and the convent, and throwing 
aside the name of sister Helena, reassumed th« 


imperial title and the ancient dress cf the czar- 
ina's, and caused the name of her rival Catherine 
to he struck out of the form of prayer. And 
when the lady abbess of the convent opposed these 
proceedings, Eudocia answered her haughtily — 
That as Peter had punished the streliizes who 
liad insuited his mother, in like manner would 
prince Alexis punish those who had offered aH 
indignity to his. She caused the abbess to be 
confined to her apartment. An officer named 
Stephen Glebo was introduced into the convent; 
this man Eudocia made use of as the instrument 
of her designs, having previously won him over 
to her interest by heaping favours on him. Glebo 
caused Dozitheus's prediction to be spread over 
the little town of Susdal, and the neighbourhood 
thereof. But the three months being nearly ex- 
pired, Eudocia reproached the bishop with the 
czar's being still alive, ' My father's sins,' an- 
swered Dozitheus, ' have been the cause of this : 
he is still in purgatory, and has acquainted me 
therewith.' Upon this Eudocia caused a thou- 
sand masses for the dead to be said, Dozitheus 
assuring her that this would not fail of having 
the desired effect : but in about a month after- 
wards, he came to her and told, that his father's 
head was already out of purgatory ; in a month 
afterwards he was freed as far as his waist, so 
that i"hen he only stuck in purgatory by his feet ; 
but as soon as they should be set free, which was 
the most difficult part of the business, the czar 
would infiillibly die. 

The princess Marv, persuaded by Dozitheus, 
gave herself up to him, on condition that his 
father should be immediately released from pur- 
gatory, and the prediction accomplished, and 
Glebo continued bis usual correspondence with 
the old czarina. 


It was chiefly on the faith of these predictions 
that the czarowitz quitted the kingdom, and re- 
tired into a foreign country, to wait for the death 
of his father. However the whole scheme was 
SCO a discovered ; Dozitheus and Glebo were 
seized ; the letters of the princess Mary to Dozi- 
theus, and those of sister Helena to Glebo, were 
read in the open senate. In consequence of 
which, th« princess Mary was shut up in the for- 
tress of Schusselbourg, and the old czarina re- 
moved to another convent, where she was kept 
a close prisoner. Dozithous and Glebo, together 
with the other accomplices of these idle and su- 
perstitious intrigues, were put to the torture, as 
were likewise the confidants of the czarowitz's 
flight. His confessor, his preceptor, and the 
steward of his household, all died by the hands 
of the executioner. 

Such then was the dear and fatal price at 
which Peter the Great purchased the happiness 
of his people, and such were the numberless ob- 
stacles he had to surmount in the midst of a long 
and dangerous war without doors, and an un- 
natural rebellion at home. He saw one half of 
his family plotting against him, the majority of 
the priesthood obstinately bent to frustrate his 
designs, and almost the whole nation for a long 
time opposing its own felicity, of which as yet it 
was not become sensible. He had prejudices to 
overcome, and discontents to sooth. In a word, 
there wanted a new generation formed by his 
care, who would at length entertain the proper 
ideas of happiness and glory, which their fathers 
were not abl* to comprehend cr support. 



Works and eatablishments in 1718, and the 

following years. 

THROUGHOUT the whole of the fcregoing 
dreadful catastrophe, it appeared clearly, 
that Peter had acted only as the father of his 
country, and that he considered his people as 
his family. The punishments he had been ob- 
liged to inflict on such of them, who had endea- 
voured to obstruct or impede the happiness of 
the rest, were necessary, though melancholy sa- 
crifices, made to the general good. 

1718.] This year, which was the epoch of the 
disinheriting and death of his eldest son, was 
also that of the greatest advantage he procured 
to his subjects, by establishing a general police 
hitherto unknown ; by the introduction or im- 
provement of manufactures and works of every 
kind, bv opening new branches of trade, which 
now began to flourish, and by the construction of 
canals, which jo ned rivers, seas, and people, 
that nature had separated from each other. We 
have here none of those striking events which 
charm common readers ; none of those court-in- 
trigues which are the food of scandal and malice, 
nor of those great revolutions which amaze the 
generality of mankind ; but we behold the real 
springs ot public happiness, which the philo- 
sophic eye Jelights to contemplate. 

He now appointed a lieutenant-general of 
police over the whole empire, who was to hold 
his court at Petersburg, and from thence pre- 
serve order from one end of the kingdom to the 
other. Extravagance in dress, and the still 
more dangerous extravagance of gaming, wer« 


prohibited under severe penalties ; schools for 
teaching arithmetic, which had been first set on 
foot in 1716. were now established in many 
towns in Russia. The hospitals, which had been 
began, were now finished, endowed, and filled 
with proper objects. 

To these we may add the several useful esta- 
blishments which had been projected some time 
before, and which were completed a few years 
afterwards. The great towns were now cleared 
of those innumerable swarms of beggars, who 
will not follow any other occupation but that of 
importuning those who are more industrious than 
themselves, and who lead a wretched and shame- 
ful life at the expense of others : an abuse too 
much overlooked in other nations. 

The rich were obliged to build regular and 
handsome houses in Petersburg, agreeable to 
their circumstances, and, by a master-stroke of 
police, the several materials were brought car- 
riage free to the city, by the barks and waggons 
which returned empty from the neighbouring 

Weights and measares were likewise fixed 
upon an uniform ])lan, in the same manner as 
the laws. This uniformity, so much, but in vain 
desired, in states that have for many ages been 
civilized, was established in Russia without tiie 
least difficulty or murmuring ; and yet we fancy 
that this salutary regulation is impracticable 
amongst us. 

The prices of the necessaries of life were also 
fixed ']"he city of Petersburg was well lighted 
with lamps during the night ; a convenience 
which was first introduced in Paris by Louis 
XIV., and to which Rome is still a stranger. 
Pumps were erected for supplying water in case* 
of fire ; the streets were well paved, and rails 


put up for the security of foot passengers : in a 
word, every thing was provided that could mi- 
nister to safety, dec-ency, and good order, and 
to the quicker dispatch and convenience of the 
inland trade of the country. Several privileges 
were granted to foreigners, and proper laws 
enacted to prevent the abuse of those privileges. 
In consequence of these useful and salutary re- 
gulations, Petersburg and Moscow put on a new 

The iron and steel manufactories received ad- 
ditional improvements, especially those which 
the czar had founded at about ten miles distance 
from Petersburg, of which he himself was the 
first superintendant, and wherein no less than a 
thousand workmen were employed immediately 
under his eye. He went in person to give di- 
rections to those who farmed the corn-mills, 
powder-mills, and mills for sawing timber, and 
to the managers of the manufactories for cordage 
and sail-cloth, to the brick-makers, slaters, and 
the cloth-weavers. Numbers of workmen in 
every branch came from France to settle under 
him ; these were the fruits he reaped from his 

He established a board of trade, which was 
composed of one half natives, and the other 
half foreigners, in order that justice might oe 
equally distributed to all artists and wc;krr>?i\, 
A Frenchman settled a manufactory for making 
fine looking-glass at Petersburg, with the assist- 
ance of prince Menzikoff. Another set up a loum 
for working curious tapestry, after the manner 
of the Gobelins ; and this manufactory still meets 
with great encouragement. A third succeeded 
in making of gold and silver thread, and the 
czar ordered that no more than four thousand 
marks of gold or silver should be expended iu 


these works in the space of a year ; by this 
means to prevent the too great consumption of 
bullion in the kingdom. 

He gave thirty thousand rubles, that is, about 
one hundred and fifty thousand French livres,* 
together with all the materials and instruments 
necessary for making the several kinds of woollen 
stuffs. By this useful bounty he was enabled to 
clothe all his troops with the cloth made in his 
own country ; whereas, before that lime, it was 
purchased from Berlin and other foreign king- 

They made as fine linen cloth in Moscow as 
in Holland ; and at his death there were in that 
capital and at .Taroslaw, no less than fourteen 
linen and hempen manufactories. 

It could certainly never be imagined, at the 
time that silk sold in Europe for iis weight in 
gold, that one day there would arise on the 
banks of the lake Ladoga, in the midst of a frozen 
region, and among unfrequented marches, a mag- 
nificent and opulent city, where the silks of 
Persia should be manufactured in as great per- 
fection as at Ispahan. Peter, however, under- 
took this great phenomenon in commerce, and 
succeeded in the attempt. The working of iron 
mines was carried to their highest degree of 
perfection ; several other mines of gold and 
silver were discovered, and the council of mines 
was appointed to examine and determine, whe- 
ther the working of these would bring in a profit 
adequate to the expense. 

But, to make so many different arts and ma- 
nufactures flourish, and to establish so many 
various undertakings, it was not alone suflficient 
to grant patents, or to appoint inspectors : it wa« 

• Ai tweufj-four to the pound sierliiig. 


necessary that our great founder should behold 
all these pass under his own eye in their begin- 
nings, and work at them with his own hands, in 
the same manner as we have already seen him 
working at the construction, the rigging, and the 
sailing of a ship. When canals were to be dug 
in marshy and almost impassable grt>unds, he 
was frequently seen at the head of the workmen 
digging the earth, and carrying it away himself. 

In this same year (1718) he formed the plan 
of the canal and sluices of Ladoga : this was 
intended to make a communication between the 
Neva and another navigable river, in order for 
t*he more easy conveyance of merchandize to 
Petersburg, without taking the great circuit of 
the lake Ladoga, which, on account of the storms 
that prevailed on the coast, was frequently im- 
passable for barks or small vessels, Peter 
levelled the ground himself, and they still pre- 
serve the tools which he used in digging up and 
carrying off the earth. The whole court fol- 
lowed the example of their sovereign, and per- 
sisted in a work, which, at the same time, they 
looked upon as impracticable ; and it was 
finished after his death : for not one of his pro- 
jects, which had been found possible to be ef- 
fected, was abandoned. 

The great canal of Cronstadt, which is easily 
drained of its waters, and wherein they careen 
and clean the men of war, was also began at the 
same time that he was engaged in the proceed- 
ings against his son. 

In this year also he built the new city of 
Ladoga. A short time afterwards, he made the 
canal which joins the Caspian Sea to the giilf 
of Finland and to the ocean. The boats, after 
sailing up the Wolga, came first to the commu- 
nication of two rivers, which he joined for thai 


purpose; from thence, by another canal, they 
enter into the lake of llmen, and then fall into 
the canal of Ladoga, from whence goods and 
merchandizes may be conveyed by sea to all 
parts of the world. 

lu the midst of these labours, which all passed 
under his inspection, he carried his views from 
Kamschatka to the most eastern limits of his 
empire, and caused two forts to be built in these 
regions, which were so long unknown to the 
rest of the world. In the meantime, a body of 
engineers, who were draughted from the marine 
academy established in 171*), were sent to make 
the tour of the empire, in order to form exact charts 
thereof, and lay before mankind the immense 
extent of country which he had civilized and 


Of the trado of Rnssia. 

'T'HE Russian trade without doors was m a 
manner annihilated before the reign of Peter. 
He restored it anew, after his acce.^sion to the 
throne. It is notorious, that the current of trade 
has undergone several changes in the world. The 
south part of Rust«ia was before the time of Ta- 
merlane, the staple of Greece, and even of the 
Indies ; and the Genoese were the principal fac- 
tors. The Tanais and the Boristhenes were 
loaded with the productions of Asia : but when 
Tamerlane, towards the end of the fourteenth 
century, had conquered the Taurican Cherso- 
nesus, afterwards called Crimea or Crim Tartary, 
and when the Turks became masters of Azoph, 
this great branch of trade was totally destroyed. 
Peter formed the design of reviving it, by get* 


ting possession of Azoph ; but the unfortunate 
campaign of Pruth wrested this city out of his 
hands, and with it all his views on the Black 
Sea : nevertheless he had it still in his power to 
open as extensive a road to commerce through 
the Caspian Sea. The English who, in the end 
of the fifteenth, and beginning of the sixteenth 
century, had opened a trade to Archangel, had 
endeavoured to do the same likewise by the Cas- 
pian Sea, but failed in all their attempts for this 

It ha<» been already observed, that the father 
of Peter the Great caused a ship to be built in 
Holland, to trade from Astracan to the coast of 
Persia. This vessel was burnt by the rebel 
Stenkorazin, which put an immediate stop to 
any views of trading on a fair footing with the 
Persians. The Armenians, who are the factors 
of that part of Asia, were received by Peter the 
Great into Astracan : every thing was obliged to 
pass through their hands, and they reaped all 
the advantage of that trade ; as is the case with 
the Indian traders, and the Banians, and with 
the Turks, as well as several nations in Christen- 
dom, and the Jews : for those who have only one 
waj of living, are generally very expert in that 
art on which they depend for a support ; and 
others pay a voluntary tribute to that knowledge 
in which they know themselves deficient. 

Peter had already found a remedy for this 
inconvenience, in the treaty which he made with 
the sophi of Persia, by which all the silk, which 
was not used for the manufactories in that king- 
dom, was to be delivered to the ."Armenians of 
Asiracan, and by them to be transported into 

The troubles which arose in Persia soon over- 
turned this arrangement ; and in the course of 


this history, we shall see how the sha, or em- 
peror of Persia, Hussein, when persecuted by the 
rebels, implored tiie assistance of Peter; and how 
that monarch, after having supported a difficult 
war against the Turks and the Swedes, entered 
Peisia, and subjected three of its provinces. But 
to return to the article of trade. 

Of the Trade with China. 

The undertaking of establishing a trade with 
China seemed to promise the greatest advan- 
tages. Two vast empires, bordering on each 
other, and each reciprocally possessing what the 
other stood in need of, seemed to be both under 
the happy necessity of opening a useful correB- 
pondence, especially after the treaty of peace, so 
solemnly ratified between these two empires in 
the year 1639, according to our way of reckoning. 

The first foundation of this trade had been laid 
in the year 165:5. There was at that time two 
companies of Siberian and Bukarian families 
settled in Siberia. Their caravans travelled 
through the Calmuck plains ; after they had 
crossed the deserts of Chinese Tartary, and made 
a considerable profit by their trade ; but the 
troubles which happened in the country of the 
Calmucks, and the disputes between the Rus- 
sians and the Chinese, in regard to the frontiers, 
put a stop to this commerce. 

After the peace of 16^9, it was natural for the 
two great nations to fix on some neutral place, 
whither ail the goods should be carried. The 
Siberians, like all other nations, stood more in 
need of the Chinese, than these latter did of 
them ; accordingly permission was asked of the 
emperor of China, to send caravans to Pekin, 
which was readily granted. This happened in 
the beginning of the present century. 


It is worthy of observation, that the erajJeror 
Camhi had granted permission for a Russian 
church in the suburbs of Pekin ; which church 
was to be served b}' Siberian priests, the whole 
at the emperor's own expense, who was fo indul- 
gent to cause t^is church to be built for the ac- 
conamodation of several families of eastern Si- 
beria ; some of whom had been prisoners before the 
peace of 1680, and the others were adventurers 
from their own country, who would not return 
back again after the peace of Niptchou. The 
agreeable climate of Pekin, the ob'.ij^ing manners 
of the Chinese, and the ease with which they 
found a handsome living, determined them to 
spend the rest of their days in China. The small 
Greek church could not become dangerous to the 
peace of the empire, as those of the Jesuits have 
been to that of other nations ; and moreover, the 
emperor Camhi was a favourer of liberty of con- 
science. Toleration has, in all times, been the 
established custom in Asia, as it was in former 
times all over the world, till the reign of the 
Roman emperor Theodosius I. The Russian 
families, thus established in China, having in- 
termarried with the natives, have since quitted 
the Christian religion, but their church still 

It was stipulated, that this church should he 
for the use of those who come with the Siberian 
caravans, to bring furs and other commodities 
wanted at Pekin. The voyage out and home, 
and the stay in the country, generally took up 
three years. Prince Gagarin, governor of Siberia, 
was twenty years at the head of this trade. The 
jaravaiis were sometimes very numerous; and ic 
was difficult to keep the common people, who 
inade the greatest number, within proper bounds. 

They passed through the territories of a Laman 


priest, who is a kind of Tartarian sovereign, 
resides on the sea-coast of Orkon, and has the 
title of Koutoukas : he is the vicar of the grand 
Lama, but has rendered himself independent, by 
making some change in the religion of the coun- 
try, where the Indian tenet of metempsychosis is 
the prevailing opinion. VVe cannot find a more 
apt comparison fAr this priest than in the bishops 
of Lubeck and Osnaburg who have 'shaken off 
the dominion of tlie church of Rome. The cara- 
vans, in their march, sometimes committed de- 
predations on the territories of this Tartarian 
prelate, as they did also on those of the Chinese. 
This irregular conduct proved an impediment to 
the trade of those parts ; for the Chinese threat- 
ened to shut the entrance into their empire 
against the Russians, unless a sto|> was put to 
these disorders. The trade with China was at 
that time verv advantageous to the Russians, 
who brought from thence gold, silver, and pre- 
cious stones, in return for their merchandize. 
The largest ruby in the world was brought out 
of China to prince Gagarin, who sent it to prince 
MenzikofF; and it is now one of the ornaments of - 
the imperial crown. 

The exactions put in practice by prince Ga- 
garin were of great prejudice to that trade, which 
had brought liim so much riches ; and, at length, 
they ended in his own destruction ; for he was 
accused before the court of justice, established 
by the czar, and sentenced to lose his head, a 
year after the condemnation of the czarowitz, 
and the execution of all those who had been his 

About the same time, the emperor Camhi, per- 
ceiving his health to decay, and knowing, by 
experience, that the European mathematician* 
were much more learned in their art than those ot 


his own nation, thought that the European physi- 
cians must also have more knowledge than those 
of Pekin, and therefore sent a message to the 
czar, by some ambassadors who were returning 
from China to Petersburg, requesting him to send 
him one of his physicians. There happened at 
that time to be an English surgeon at Petersburg, 
who offered to undertake the journey in that 
character ; and accordingly set out in company 
with a new ambassador, and one Laurence Lange. 
who has left a description of that journey. T.'iia 
embassy was received, and all the expense of it 
defrayed with great pomp, by Camhi. The 
surgeon, at his arrival, found the emperor in 
perfect health, and gained the reputation of a 
most skilful physician. The caravans who fol- 
lowed this embassy made prodigious profits ; but 
fresh excesses having been committed by this very 
caravan, the Chinese were so offended thereat, 
that they sent back Lange, who was at that time re- 
sident from the czar at the Chinese court, and with 
him all the Russian merchants established there. 
' The enriperor Camhi dying, his son Yontchin, 
who had as great a share of wisdom, and more 
firmness than his father, and who drove the Jesuits 
out of his empire, as the czar had done from 
Russia in 1718, concluded a treaty with Peter, 
by which the Russian caravans were no more to 
trade on the frontiers of the two empires. There 
are only certain factors, dispatched in the name 
of the emperor or empress of Russia, and these 
have liberty to enter Pekin, where they are lodged 
in a vast house, which the emperor of China 
formerly assigned for the reception of the envoys 
from Corea : but it is a considerable time since 
either caravans or factors have been sent from 
Russia thither so that the trade is now in a de- 
clining way, but may possibly soon be revived. 


Of the Trade qf PETERSBURG, and the othtr 
ports of the RUSSIAN EMPIRE. 

There were at this time above two hundred 
foreign vessels traded to the new capital, in the 
space of a year. This trade has continued in- 
creasing, and has frequently brought in five mil- 
lions (French money) to the crown. This was 
i^reatly more than the interest of the money 
which this establishment had cost. This trade, 
however, greatly diminished that of Archangel, 
and was precisely what the founder desired ; for 
the port of Archangel is too dangerous, and at 
too great distance from other ports : besides that, 
a trade which is carried on immediately under 
the eye of an assiduous sovereign, is always the 
most advantageous. That of Livonia continued 
mill on the same footing. The trade of Russia 
in general has proved very successful ; its ports 
have received from one thousand to twelve 
hundred vessels in a year, and Peter discovered 
the happy expedient of joining utility to glory. 


Of the laws. 

TT is well known, that good laws are scarce, 
and that the due execution of them is still 
more so. The greater the extent of any state, 
and the variety of people of which it is composed, 
the more difficult it is to unite tlicm by the same 
body of laws. The father of czar Peter formed 
a digest or code under the title of Oiilngenia, 
which was actually printed, but it by no meanti 
answered the end intended. 


Peter, in tbe course of his travels, had collected 
materials for reparing this great structure, which 
Tras falling to decay in many of its parts. He 
gathered many useful hints from the governn^entg 
of Denmark, Sweden, England, Germany, and 
France, selecting from each of these different 
nations what he thought most suitable to his own. 

There was a court of boyards or great men, 
who deteniuned all matters en dcrnin- ressort. 
Rank a:ul birth alone gave a seat in this assembly ; 
but the czar thought that knowledge was likewise 
requisite, and therefore this court was dissolved. 

He then instituted a procurator-general, assist- 
ed by four assistors, in each of the governments 
of the empire. These were to overlook the con* 
duct of the judges, whose decrees were subject to 
an appeal to the senate which he established. 
Each of those judges was furnished with a copy 
of the Oiil'if^enia, with additions and necessary 
alterations, until a complete body of laws could 
be formed. 

It was forbid to these judges to receive any 
fees, which, however moderate, are always an 
abusive tax on the fortunes and properties of those 
concerned in suits of law. The czar also took 
care that the expenses of the court were moderate, 
and tbe decisions speedy. The judges and their 
clerks had salaries appointed them out of the 
j)ublic treasury, and were not suffered to purchase 
their offices. 

It was in the year 1718, at the very time that 
he was engaged in the process against his son, 
that he made the ciiief part of these regulations. 
The greatest part of the laws he enacted were 
borrowed from those of the Swedes, and he made 
no difficulty to admit to places in hs courts of 
judicature such Swedish prisor.ers who were well 
•versed K! ihe laws cf their own country, and who. 


having learnt the Russian language, were willing 
to continue in that kingdom. 

The governor of each province and his assistors 
had the cognizance of private causes within such 
government ; from them there was an appeal to 
the senate ; and if any one, after having been con- 
demned by the senate, appealed to the czar him- 
self, and such appeal was found unjust, he was 
punished with death : but to mitigate the rigour 
of this law, the czar created a master of the re- 
quests, who received the petitions of those who 
had affairs depending in the senate, or in the in- 
ferior courts, concerning which the laws then in 
force were not suflBciently explanatory. 

At length, in 1722, he completed his new code, 
prohibiting all the judges, under pain of death, 
to depart therefrom in their decrees, or to set up 
their o>yn private opinions in place of the general 
statutes. This dreadful ordonnance was ])ublicly 
fixed up, and still remains in all the courts o' 
judicature of the empire. 

He erected every thing anew ; there was not, 
even to the common aflPairs of society, aught but 
what was his work. He regulated the degrees 
between man and man, according to their posts 
and employments, from the admiral and the field- 
marshal to the ensign, without any regard to birth. 

Having always in his own mind, and willing 
to imprint it on those of his subjc'cts, that services 
are preferable to pedigree, a certain rank was 
likewise fixed for the women ; and she who took 
a seat in a public assembly, that did not properly 
belong to her, was obliged to pay a fine. 

By a still more useful regulation, every private 
soldier, on being made an officer, instantly became 
a gentleman ; and a nobleman, if his character 
had been impeached in a court of justice, waa 
degraded to a plebeian. 


After the settling of these several laws and re- 
gulations, it happened that the increase of towns, 
wealth,- and population in the empire, new under- 
takings, and the creation of new employs, neces- 
earilv introduced a multitude of new affairs and 
unforeseen cases, which were all consequences of 
that success which attended the czar in the ge- 
neral reformation of his dominions. 

The empress Elizabeth completed the body of 
laws which her father had begun, in which she 
gave the most lively proofs of that mildness and 
clemency for which she was so justly famed. 


Of Religion. 

AT this time Peter laboured more than ever to 
reform the clergy. He had abolished the 
patriarchal office, and by this act of authority had 
alienated the minds of the ecclesiastics. He was 
determined that the imperial power should be 
free and absolute, and that of the church re- 
spected, but submissive. His design was, to es- 
tablish a council of religion, which should always 
subsist, but dependent on the sovereign, and that 
it should give no laws to the church, but such as 
should be approved of by the head of the state, 
of which the church was a part. He was as- 
sisted in this undertaking by the archbishop of 
Novogorod, named Theophanes Procop, or Pro- 
copowitz, i. e. son of Procop. 

This prelate was a person of great learning 
and sagacity : his travels through the different 
parts of Europe had afforded him opportunities 
o( remarks on the several abuses which reign 


amongst them. The czar, who had himself been 
a witness of the same, had this great advantage 
in forming all his regulations, that he was pos- 
sessed of an unlimited power to choose what was 
useful, and rejoct what was dangerous. He la- 
boured, in concert with the archbishop, in the 
years 1718 and 1719, to effect bis design. He 
established a perpetual synod, to be composed 
of twelve members, partly bishops, and partly 
archpriests, all to be chosen by the sovereign. 
This college was afterwards augment*'d to four- 

The motives of this establishment were ex- 
plained by the czar in a preliminary discourse. 
The chief and most remarkable of these was, 
' That under the administration of a college of 
priests, there was less danger of troubles and in- 
surrections, than under the government of a sin- 
gle head of the church ; because the common 
people, who are always i)rone to superstition, 
might, by seeing one head of the church, and 
another of the state, be led to believe that they 
were in fact two different powers.' And here^ 
upon he cites as an example, the divisions which 
80 long subsisted between the empire and the 
papal see, and which stained so many kingdoms 
with blood. 

Peter thought, and openly declared, that the 
notion of two powers in a state, founded on the 
allegory of the two swords, mentioned in the 
apostles, was absurd and erroneous. 

This court was invested with the ecclesiastical 
power of regulating all penances, and examining 
into the morals and capacity of those nominated 
by the court to bishoprics, to pass judgment en 
dernier ressort in all causes relating to religion, in 
which it was the custom formerly to appeal ta 
the patriarch, and also to take coguizance of the 


revenues of monasteries, and the distribution of 

This synod had the title of most holy, the 
same which the patriarchs were wont to assume, 
and in fact the czar seemed to have preserved 
the patriarchal dignity, but divided among four- 
teen members, who were all dependant on the 
crown, and were to take an oath of obedience, 
which the patriarchs never did. The members 
of this holy synod, when met in assembly, had 
the same rank as the senators ; but they were 
like the senate, all dependant on the prince. 
But neither this new form of church administra- 
tion, nor the ecclesiastical code, were iu full vi- 
gour till four yea;s after its institution, namely 
in 1722. Peter at first intended, that the synod 
should have the presentation of those whom they 
thought most worthy to fill the vacant bishop- 
rics. These were to be nominated by the em- 
peror, and consecrated by the synod. Peter 
frequently presided in person at the assembly4 
One day that a vacant see was to be filled, the 
synod observed to the emperor, that they had 
none but ignorant persons to present to his ma- 
jesty : ' Weil, then,' replied the czar, ' you have 
only to pitch upon the most honest man, he will 
be worth two Inarned ones.* 

It is to be observed, that the Greek church has 
none of that motley order called secular abbots. 
The petit collet is unknown there, otherwise than 
by the ridiculousness of its character, but by 
another abuse (as every thing in this world must 
be subject to abuse) the bishops and prelates are 
all chosen from the monastic orders. The first 
monks were only laymen, partly devotees, and 
partly fanatics, who retired into the deserts, 
where they were at length gathered together by 
St. Basil, who gave them a body of rules, and 


then they took vows, and were reckoned as the 
lower order of the church, which is the first step 
to be taken to arise at higher dignities. It was 
this that filled all Greece and Asia with monks. 
Russia was overrun with them. 1 hey became 
rich, powerful, and though excessively ignorantj 
they were, at the accession of Peter to the throne, 
almost the only persons who knew how to write. 
Of this knowledge they made such an abuse, 
when struck and confounded with the new regu- 
lations which Peter introduced in all the depart- 
ments of government, that he was obliged in 1703 
to issue an edict, forbidding the use of pen and 
ink to the monks, without an express order from 
the archimandrite, or prior of the convent, who 
in that case was responsible for the behaviour of 
those to whom he granted this indulgence. 

Peter designed to make this a standing law, 
and at first he intended, that no one should be 
admitted into any order under fifty years of age ; 
but that appeared too late an age, as the life of 
man being in general so limited, there was not 
time sufficient for such persons to acquire the 
necessary qualifications for being made bishops ; 
and therefore, with the advice of his synod, he 
placed it at thirty years complete, but never 
under; at the same time expressly prohibiting 
any person exercising the profession of a soldier, 
or an husbandman, to enter into a convent, with- 
out an immediate order from the emperor, or the 
synod, and to admit no married man upon any 
account, even though divorced from his wife ; 
unlese that wife should at the same time embrace 
a religious life of her own pure will, and that 
neither of them had any children. No person in 
actual employ under government can take the 
habit, without an express order of the state foi 
ikat purpose^ Every monk ia obliged to work 


with his own hands at some trade. The nuna 
are never to go without the walls of their con- 
vent, and at the age of fifty are to receive the 
tonsure, as did the deaconesses of the primitive 
church ; but if, before undergoing that ceremonj, 
thev have aa inclination to marry, they are 
not' only allowed, but even exhorted so to do. 
An admirable regulation in a country where poi- 
pulation is of infinitely greater use than a mo- 
nastic life. 

Peter was desirous that those unhappy fe- 
males, whom God has destined to people a 
kingdom, and who, by a mistaken devotion, an- 
nihilated in cloisters that race of which they 
would otlierwise become mothers, should at 
least be of some service to society, which they 
thus injure ; and therefore ordered, that they 
ahould all be employed in some handy works, 
suitable to their sex. The empress Catherine 
took upon herself the care of sending for several 
handicrafts over from Brabant and Holland, 
whom she distributed among these convents, 
and, in a short time, they praduced several 
kinds of work, which the empress and her ladies 
always wore as a part of their dress. 

There cannot perhaps be any thing coneeived 
more prudent than these institutions ; but what 
merits the attention of all ages, is the regulation 
which Peter made himself, and which he ad- 
dressed to the synod in 172-k The ancient ec- 
clesiastical institution is there very learnedly ex- 
plained, and the indolence of the monkish life 
admirably well exposed \ and he not only re- 
commends an application to labour and industry,, 
but even commands it ; and that the principal 
occupation of those people should be, to assist 
and relieve the poor. He likewise orders, that 
:iick and infirm soldiers shall he quartered in tisA 


convents, and that a certain number of monks 
shall be set apart to take care of them, and that 
the most strong and healthy of these shall culti- 
vate the lands belonging to those convents. He 
orders the same regulations to be observed in the 
monasteries for women, and that the strongest of 
these shall take care of the gardens, and the 
rest to wait on sick or infirm women, who shad 
be broughi from the neighbouriuj^ country into 
the convents for that purpose. He also enters 
into the minutest details relating to these ser- 
vices ; and lastly, he appoints certain monaste- 
ries of both sexes for the reception and education 
of orphans. 

In reading this ordinance of Peter the Great, 
which was published the 31=t January, 17'J4, one 
would imagine it to have been framed by a minister 
of state and a father of the church. 

Almost all the customs in the Russian church 
are different from those of ours. As soon as a 
man is made a sub-deacon, we prohibit him from 
marrying, and he is accounted guilty of sacrilege 
if he proves instrumental to the population of his 
country. On the contrary, when any one has 
taken a sub-deacon's order in Russia, he is 
obliged likewise to take a wife, and then may 
rise to the rank of priest, and arch-priest, but he 
cannot be made a bishop, unless he is a widower 
and a monk. 

Peter forbid all parish-priests from bringing up 
more than one son to the service of the church, 
anleas it was particularly desired by the parish- 
ioners ; and this he did, lest a numerous family 
might in time come to tyrannize over the parish. 
We may perceive in these little circumstances re- 
lating to church-government, that the legislator 
had always the good of the state in view, and that 
he took every precaution to make the clergy 


properly respected, with out being dangerous, acd 

that they should be neither contemptible nor 


In those curious memoirs, composed by an of- 
ficer who was a particular favourite of Peter the 
Great, I find the following anecdote : — One day 
a person reading to the czar that number of the 
English Spectator, in which a parallel is drawn 
between him and Lewis XIV. '1 do not think,' 
said Peter, ' that I deserve the preference that is 
here given me over that monarch ; but I have 
been fortunate enough to have the superiority 
over him in one essential point, namely, that of 
having obliged my clergy to live in peace and 
submission ; whereas mv brother Lewis has suf- 
fered himself to be ruled bv his.' 

A prince, whose days were almost wholly spent 
in the fatigues of war, and his nights in the com- 
piling laws for the better government of so large 
an empire, andm directing so many great labours, 
through a space of two thousand leagues, must 
stand in need of some hours of amusement. Diver- 
sions at that time were neither so noble or elegant 
as they now are, and therefore we must not wonder 
if Peter amused himself with the entertainment 
of the sham conclave, of which mention has been 
already made, and other diversions of the same 
stamp, which were frequently at the expense of 
the Romish church, to which he had a great dis- 
like, and which was very pardonable in a prince 
of the Greek communion, who was determined to 
be master in his own dominions. He likewise 
gave several entertainments of the same kind at 
the expense of the monks of his o'wn country ; but 
of the ancient monks, whose follies and bigotry 
he wished to ridicule, while he strove to reform 
tlie new. 

We have already seen that previous to hispob* 


lisliiag bis church-laws, he created one of his fools 
pope, and celebrated the feast of the sham con- 
clave. This fool, whose name was Jotof, was 
between eighty and ninety. The czar took it into 
bis head to make him marry an old widow of his 
own age, and to have their nupiia!s publicly so- 
lemnized ; he caused the invitation to the mar- 
riage guests to be made by four persons who were 
remarkable for stammering. The bride was con- 
ducted to church by decrepit old men, four of the 
most bulky men that could be found in Russia 
acted as running footmen. The music were seated 
in a waggon drawn by bears, whom they every 
now and then pricked with goads of iron, and 
who, by their roaring, formed a full base, per- 
fectly agreeable to the concert in the cart. The 
married couple received the benediction in the 
cathedral from the hands of a deaf and blind 
priest, who, to appear more ridiculous, wore a 
large pair of spectacles on his nose. The pro- 
cession, the wedding, the marriage-feast, the un- 
dressing anil putting to bed of the bride and bride- 
groom, were all of a piece with the rest of this 
burlesque ceremony. 

We may perhaps be apt to look upon this as a 
trivial and ridiculous entertainment for a great 
prince ; but is it more so than our carnival ? or 
to see five or six Imndred persons with masks on 
their faces, and dressed in the most ridiculous 
manner, skipping and jumping about togetlier, 
for a whole night in a large room, without speak- 
ing a word to each other ? 

In fine, were the ancient feasts of the fools and 
the ass, and the abbot of the cuckolds, which 
were formerly celebrated in our churches, much 
superior, or did our comedies of the foolish mo- 
ther exhibit marks of a greater genius? 



The congress of Aland or Oeland. Death of 
Charles Xr I., Sec. The treatv of Nystadt. 

T^HESE immense labours, this minute review of 
the v/hole Russian empire, and the melan- 
choly proceedings against his unhappy son, were 
not the only objects which demanded the atten- 
tion of the czar ; it was necessary to secure hira- 
aelf without doors, at the same time that he was 
«ettling order and tranquillity within. The war 
with Sweden was still carried on, though faintly, 
in hopes of approaching peace. 

It is a known fact, that in the year 1717, car- 
dinal Alberoni, prime minister to Philip V. of 
Spain, and baron Gortz, who had gained an en- 
tire ascendant over the mind of Charles XII. had 
concerted a project to change the face of affairs 
in Europe, by effecting a reconciliation between 
this last prince and the czar, driving George I. 
from the English throne, and replacing Stanislaus 
on that of Poland, while cardinal Alberoni waa 
to procure the regencv of France for his master 
Philip. Gortz. as has been already observed, 
had opened his mind on this head to the czar him- 
self. Alberoni had begun a negotiation with 
prince Kourakin, the czar's ambassador at the 
Hague, by means of the Spanish ambassador, 
Baretti Landi, a native of Mantua, who had, 
like the cardinal, quitted his ovna country to live 
in Spain. 

Thus a set of foreigners were about to overturn 
the general system, for masters under whose 
dominion they were not born, or rather for them- 
selves. Charles XII. gave into all these project*, 
and the czar contented himself with examining 
them in private. Since the year 1716 be had 


made only feeble efforts against Sweden, and 
those rather with a view to oblige that kingdom 
to purchase peace by restoring those places it 
had taken in the course of the war, than with an 
intent to crush it altogether. 

The baron Gortz, ever active and indefatiga- 
ble in his projects, had prevailed on the czar to 
send plenipotentiaries to the island of Oeland to 
set on foot a treaty of peace. Bruce, a Scotch- 
man, and grand master of the ordnance in Russia, 
and the famous Osterman, who was afterwards 
at the head of affairs, arrived at the place ap- 
pointed for the congress exactly at the time that 
the czarowitz was put under arrest at Moscow. 
Gortz and Gillembourg were already there on the 
part of Charles XII. both impatient to bring about 
a reconciliation between that prince and Peter, 
and to revenge themselves on the king of Eng- 
land It was an extraordinary circumstance that 
there should be a congress, and no cessation of 
arms. The czar's fleet still continued cruising 
on the coasts of Sweden, and taking the ships of 
that nation. Peter thought by keeping up hosti- 
lities to hasten the conclusion of a peace, of 
which he knew the Swedes stood greatly in need, 
and which must prove highly glorious to the con- 

Notwithstanding the little hostilities which 
still continued, every thing bespoke the speedy 
approach of peace. The preliminaries began 
by mutual acts of generosity, which produce 
stronger efl^ecls than many hand-writings. The 
czar sent back without ransf)m marshal Erens- 
child, whom he had taken prisoner with his own 
hands, and Charles in return did the same bv 
Trubetskoy and Gallowin, who bad continued pri- 
soners in Sweden ever since the battle of Narva. 

The negotiations now advanced apace, and a 


total change was going to be made in the afikirt 
of the North. Gortz proposed to the czar to pot 
the duchy of !Mecklenburg into his hands. Duke 
Charles, its sovereign, who had married a daughter 
of czar John. Peter's elder brother, was at vari- 
ance with the nobility of the country, who had 
taken arms against him. And Peter, who looked 
upon that prince as his brother-ia-law, had an 
army in Mecklenburg reaSy to espouse his cause. 
Thf king of England, elector of Hanover, declared 
on the side of the nobles. Here was another 
opportunity of mortifying the king of England, 
by putting Peter in possession of Mecklenburg, 
who, being already master of Livonia, would by 
this means, in a short time, become more powerful 
in Germany than any of its electors. 1 he duchy 
of Courland was to be given to the duke of ^leclc- 
lenburg, as an equivalent for his own, together 
with a part of Prussia at the expense of Poland, 
who, was to have Stanislaus again for her king. 
Bremen and Verden were to revert to Sweden ; 
but these provinces could not be wrested out of 
the hands of the king of England but by force of 
arms ; accordingly Gortz's project was (^as we 
have already said) to effect a firm union between 
Peter and Charles XII., and that not only by the 
bands of peace, but by an offensive alliance, in 
v/hich case they were jointly to send an anny 
into Scotland. Charles XII. after having made 
himself master of Norway, was to make a des- 
cent on Great Britain, and he fondly imagined 
he should be able to set a new sovereign on the 
throne of those kingdoms, after having replaced 
one of his own choosing on that of Poland. Car- 
dmal Alberoni promised both Peter and Charles 
to furnish them with subsidies. The falj of the 
king of England would, it was supposed, draw 
vith it that of his ally, the regent of France, 


wbo being thus deprived of all support, was to 
fall a victim to the victorious arms of Spain, and 
the discontent of the French nation. 

Alberoni and Gortz now thought themselves 
secure of totally overturning the system of Europe, 
when a cannon ball from the bastions of Frede- 
ricksbal in Norway confounded all their mighty 
projects. Charles XII. was killed, the Spanish 
fleet was beaten by that of England, the con- 
spiracy which had been formed in France was dis- 
covered and quelled, Alberoni was driven out of 
Spain, and Gortz was beheaded at Stockholm; 
and of all this formidable league, so lately made, 
the czar alone retained his credit, who by not 
having put himself in the power of any one, gave 
law to all his neighbours. 

At the death of Charles XII. there was a 
total change of measures in Sweden. Charles 
had governed with a despotic power, and his 
sister Ulrica was elected Queen on express con- 
dition of renouncing arbitary government. Charles 
intended to form an alliance with the czar against 
England and its allies, and the new government 
of Sweden now joined those allies against the 

The congress at Oeland, however, was not 
broken up ; but the Swedes, now in league with 
the English, flattered themselves that the fleets of 
that nation sent into the Baltic would procure 
them a more advantageous peace. A body of 
Hanoverian troops entered the dominions of the 
duke of Mecklenburg (Feb. 1716.), but were 
soon driven from thence by the czar's forces. 

Peter likewise had a body of troops in Poland, 
which kept in awe both the party of Augustus, 
and that of Stanislaus ; and as to Sweden, he 
had a fleet always ready, either to make a des- 
cent on their coasts, or to oblige the Swedish 


government to hasten mitters in tbe congress. 
This fleet consisted of twelve large ships of the 
line, and several lesser ones, besides frigates and 
galleys. The czar served on board this fleet as 
vice-admiral, under the command of admiral 

A part of this fleet signalized itself in the be- 
ginning against a Swedish squadron, and, after 
an obstinate engagement, took one ship of the 
line, and two frigates. Peter, who constantly en- 
deavoured, bv everr possible means, to encou- 
rage and improve the navy he had been at so 
much pains to establish, gave, on this occasion, 
sixty thousand French livres* in money among 
the officers of this squadron, with several gold 
medals, besides conferring marks of honour on 
those who principally distinguished themselves. 

About this time also the English fleet under 
admiral Norris came up the Baltic, in order to 
favour the Swedes. Peter, who well knew how 
far he could depend on his new navy, was not to 
be frightened by the English, but boldly kept the 
sea, and sent to know of the English admiral if 
he was come only as a friend to the Swedes, or as 
an enemy to Russia? The admiral returned for 
answer, that he had not as yet any positive orders 
from his court on that head : however Peter, not- 
withstanding this equivocal reply, continued to 
keep the sea with his fleet. 

The English fleet, which in fact was come 
thither only to shew itself, and thereby induce 
the czar to grant more favourable conditions of 
peace to the Swedes, went to Copenhagen, and 
the Russians made some descents on the Swedish 
coast, and even iu the neighbourhood of Copen- 
hagen, (July 1719.) where they destroyed some 
copper mines, burnt about fifteen thousand hooses, 
• About three thousand pounds sterling. 


and did mischief enough to make the Swede* 
heartily wish for a speedy conclusion of the peace. 
Accordingly the new queen of Sweden pressed 
a renewal of the negotiations ; Osterman hina- 
self was sent to Stockholm, and matters con- 
tinued in this situation during the whole of the 
pear 1719. 

The following year the prince of Hesse, husband 
to the queen of Sweden, and now become king, in 
Tirtue of her havin g yielded up the sovereign power 
in his favour, began bis reign by sending a minister 
to the court of Petersburg, in order to hasten the 
80 much desired peace ; but the war was still 
carried on in the midst of these negotiations. 

The English fleet joined that of the Swedes, 
but did not yet commit any hostilities, as there 
was no open rupture betwet^n the courts of Rus- 
sia and England, and admiral Norris even offered 
his master's mediation towards bringing about a 
peace ; but as this offer was made with arms in 
hand, it rather retarded than facilitated the nego- 
tiations. The coasts of Sweden, and those of 
the new Russian provinces in the Baltic, are so 
situated, that the former lay open to every insult, 
while the latter are secured by their diflScult ac- 
cess. This was clearly seen when admiral Nor- 
ris, after having thrown off the mask, (June 1720.) 
made a descent in conjunction with the Swedish 
fleet on a little island in the province of Estho- 
nia, called Narguen, which belonged to the czar, 
where they only burnt a peasant's house ; but 
the R\is8itins at the same time made a descent 
near Wasa, and burnt forty-one villages, and up- 
wards of one •housand houses, and did an infinite 
deal of damage to the country round about. 
Prince Galitzin boarded and took four Swedish 
frigates, and the English admiral seemed to have 
tome only to be spectator of that pitch of glory 


to which the czar had raised his infant navy ; for 
he had but just shewn himself in those seas, when 
the Swedish frigates were carried in triumph into 
the harbour of Cronslot before Petersburg.* On 
this occasions methinks the English did too much 
if they came only as mediators, and too little if 
as enemies. 

Nov. 17'20.] At length, the new king of 
Sweden demanded a cessation of arms ; and as 
he found the menaces of the English had stood 
him in no stead, he had recourse to the duke of 
Orleans, the French regent ; and this prince, at 
once an ally of Russia and Sweden, had the 
honour of effecting a reconciliation between 
them. (Feb. i7'/l.) He sent Campredon, his 
plenipotentiary, to the court of Petersburg, and 
from thence to that of Stockholm. A congress 
was opened at Nystadt,+ but the C2ar would not 
agree to a cessation of arras till matiers were on 
the point of being concluded and the })lenipotcn- 
tiaries ready to sign. He had an army in Fin- 
land ready to subdue the rest of that province, 
and his fleets were continually threatening the 
Swedish coasts, so that he seemed absolute 
master of dictating the terms of peace ; accord- 
ingly they subscribed to whatever he thought fit 
to demand. By this treaty he wa« to remain in 
perpetual possession of all that his arms had 
conquered, from the borders of Courland to the 
extremity of the gulf of Finland, and from thence 
again of the whole extent of the country of Kex- 

• The czar celebrated this victory by a naval triamph 
ut Petersburg, caused a gold medal lo be struck to per- 
petuate the glory of the action, presented prince Galitzia 
with a aword set with diamonds, and distributed a large 
•am of money among the officers and sailors who bad 
given such signal proofs of their valour. 

t A iutle to vn of the Eothnick gull" in Isorth FinlaBc) 


holm, and that narrow slip of Fiuland which 
stretches out to the northward of the neighbour- 
hood of Kexholm ; so that he remained master 
of all Livonia, Esthonia, Ingria, Carelia.with the 
country of Wybourg, and the neighbouring isles, 
which secured to him the sovereignty of the sea, 
as likewise of the isles of Oessel, Dago, Mona, 
and several others : the whole forming an ex- 
tent of three thousand leagues of country, of un- 
equal breadth, and which altogether made a 
large kingdom, that proved the reward of twenty 
years' immense pains and labour. 

The peace was signed at Nystadt the lOtli 
September, 1721, N. S. by the Russian ministei 
Osterman, and general Bruce. 

Peter was the more rejoiced at that event, as 
it freed him from the necessity of keeping such 
large armies on the frontiers of Sweden, as also 
from any apprehensions on the part of England, 
or of the neighbouring states, and left him at full 
liberty to exert his whole attention to the model- 
ling of his empire, in which he had already 
made so successful a beginning, and to cherish 
arts and commerce, which he had introduced 
among his subjects, at the expense of infinite la- 
bour and industry. f 

In the first transports of his satisfaction, we 
find him writing in these terras to his plenipo- 
tentiaries ; ' You have drawn up the treaty as if 
we ourself had dictated and sent it to you to offer 
the Swedes to sign. This glorious event shall be 
ever present to our remembrance.' 

All degrees of people, throughout the Russian 
empire, gave proofs of their satisfaction, by the 
most extraordinary rejoicings of all kinds, and 
particularly at Petersburg. The triumphal fes- 
tivals, with which the czar had entertained hia 
people during the course of the war, were no- 


thing to compare to these rejoicipgs for (he peace, 
which every one hailed with unutterable satia« 
factioE. Th° peace itself was the most glorious 
of all his triumphs ; and what pleased more than 
all the pompous shows on the occasion, was a 
free pardon and general release granted to all 
prisoners, and a general remission of all sums 
due to the royal treasury for taxes throughout 
the whole empire, to the day of the publication 
of the peace. In consequence of which a mul- 
titude of unhappy wretches, who had been con- 
fined in prison, were set at liberty, excepting 
only those guilty of highway-robbery, murder, or 

• Notwithstanding the great rejoicings made on this oc- 
casion, Peter was no«-ays inattentive to the aflfairs of state ; 
but held frequent councils thereon : and being desirous, 
as Lis son Peter Peirowitz was dead, to settle the sncces- 
8ion on a prince who would follow his maxims, and pro- 
secute the great designs which he had begun for civilizing 
his people, he ordered public notice to be given, on the 
£3d of February, to all his subjects inhabiting the city of 
Moscow, to repair the next daj' to Castle-church ; which 
they having done, printed papers were delivered to them 
all, signifj ing, ' That it was his imperialmajesty's pleasure, 
that every man should swear, and give under his hand, 
that he would not only approve the choice his majesty 
would make of a successor, but acknowledge the person 
he should appoint as emperor and sovereign.' An order 
was likewise published a few days after at Petersburg, 
requirinjr the magistrates and all persons to subscribe the 
same declaration ; and all the grandees of the empire wer« 
commanded, on pain of death and confiscation, to repair 
to Moscow by the latter end of March for that purpose, 
except tliose inhabiting Astracan and Siberia, who, \iving 
at too great a distance, were excused from giving their 
personal attendance, aad permitted to subscribe before 
their respective governors. This oath was readily taken 
by all ranks and degrees of the people, who were well 


It was at this time that the senate decreed 
Peter the titles of Great, Emperor, and Father cf 
his Country. Count Golofkin, the high chan- 
cellor, made a speech to the czar in the great 
catJiedral, in the name of ail the orders of the 
6tate, the senators crying aloud, Long live our 
emperor and faiher ! in which acclamations they 
were joined by the united voice of all the people 
present. The ministers of France, Germany, 
Poland, Denmark, and the states-general, waited 
on him, with their congratulations, on the titles 
lately bestowed on him, and formally acknow- 
ledged for emperor him who had been always 
publicly known in Holland by that title, ever 
since the battle of Pultowa. The names of Fa- 
ther, and of Great, were glorious epithets, 
which no one in Europe could dispute him ; that 
of Emperor was only a honorary title, given by 
custom to the sovereigns of Germany, as titular 
kings of the Romans ; and it requires time be- 
fore sucli appellations come to be formally adopt- 
ed by those courts where forms of state and real 
glory are different things. But Peter was in a 
short time after acknowledged emperor by all 
the states of Europe, excepting only that of Po- 
land, wliich was still divided by factions, and the 
pope, whose suffrage was become of very little 
significance, since the court of Rome had lost its 
credit in proportion as other nations became 
more enlightened. 

assnred that their emperor would mak« choice of on* 
who was every wa3' won h J of the succesaion, and capable 
of 6upf»orii:ifj the dignity intended for him : but they 
were still in the dark as to the identical person, though it 
was generally believed to be prince Nari^kin, who wa« 
nearly related to the emperor, and allowed to have all the 
qnalitifs requisite for his successor : but a little tinM 
fhf v/1 tlirm, that tb's conjecture was groundless. 



Couqueats in Persia. 

T^HE sita\tion of Russia is such, as necessarily 
obliges her to keep up certain connexions 
with all the nations that lie in the fifth degree of 
north latitude. When under a bad administra- 
tion, she was a prey by turns to the Tartars, the 
Swedes, and the Poles ; but when governed by a 
resolute and vigorous prince, she became formi- 
dable to all her neighbours. Peter began his 
reign by an advantageous treaty with the Chinese. 
He had waged war at one and the same time 
against the Swedes and the Turks, and now pre- 
pared to lead his victorious armies into Persia. 

At this time Persia began to fall into that de- 
plorable state, in which we now behold her. Let 
us figure to ourselves the thirty years' war in 
Germany, the times of the league, those of the 
massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the reigns of 
Charles VI. and of king John in France, the civil 
wars in England, the long and horrible ravages 
of the whole Russian empire by the Tartars, or 
their invasion of China ; and then we shall have 
some slight conception of the miseries under 
which the Persian empire has so long groaned. 

A weak and indolent prince, and a powerful 
and enterprising subject, are sufficient to plunge a 
whole nation into such an abyss of disasters. Hus 
sein, sha, shaic, or sophi of Persia, a descendant 
of the great sha Abbas, who sat at this time on 
the throne of Persia, had given himself wholly up 
to luxury and eflFeminacy : his prime minister 
committed acts of the greatest violence and in- 
justice, which this great prince winked at, and 
this gave rise to forty years' desolation and blood- 


Persia, like Turkey, has several provinces, all 
governed in a different manner ; she has subjects 
immediately under her dominion, vassals, tribu- 
tary princes, and even nations, to whom the court 
was wont to pay a tribute, under the name of 
subsidies ; for instance, the people of Daghestan, 
who inhabit the branches of mount Caucasus, to 
the westward of the Caspian Sea, which was 
formerly a part of the ancient Albania ; for all 
nations have changed their appellation and their 
limits. These are now called Lesgians, and are 
mountaineers, who are rather under the protec- 
tion, than the dominion, of Persia ; to these the 
government paid subsidies for defending the 

At the other extremity of the empire, towarde 
the Indies, was the prince of Candahar, who com- 
manded a kind of martial militia, called Aghwans. 
This prince of Candahar was a vassal of the Per- 
sian, as the hospodars of Walachia and Moldavia 
are of the Turkish empire : this vassalage was 
not hereditary, but exactly the same with the 
ancient feudal tenures established throughout 
Europe, by that race of Tartars who overthrew 
the Roman empire. 'J'he Aghwan militia, of 
which the prince of Candahar was the head, was 
the same with the Albanians on the coasts of the 
Caspian Sea, in the neigbourhood of Daghestan, 
and a mixture of Circassians and Georgians, like 
the ancient .Mamelucks who enslaved Egypt. The 
name of Aghwans is a corruption ; Timur, whom 
we call Tamerlane, had led these people into 
India, and they remained settled in the province 
of Candahar, which sometimes belonged to t\n- 
Mogul empire, and sometimes to that of IVrsia- 
It was these Aohwans and Lesgians who begar 
the revolution. 

Mir-Weis, or Meriwitz, intendant of the pro- 


vince, whose office was only to collect (he tributes, 
assassinated the prince of Candahar, armed the 
militia, and continued master of the province till 
his death, which happened in 1717. His brother 
came quietly to the succession, by paying a slight 
tribute to the Persian court. But the son of Mir- 
Weis, who inherited the ambition of his father, 
assassinated his uncle, and began to erect him- 
self into a conqueror. This young man was called 
Mir-Mahmoud, but he was known in Europe only 
by the name of his father, who had begun the re- 
bellion. Mahmoud reinforced his Aghwans, by 
adding to them all the Guebres he could get to- 
gether. These Guebres were an ancient race of 
Persians, who had been dispersed by the caliph 
Omar, and who still continued attached to the re- 
ligion of the Magi (formerly flourished in the 
reign of Cyrus), and were always secret enemies 
to the new Persians. Having assembled his forces, 
Mahmoud marched into the heart of Persia, at 
the head of a hundred thousand men. 

At the same time the Lesgians or Albanians, 
who, on account of the troublesome times, had not 
received their subsidies from the court of Persia, 
came down from their mountains with an armed 
force, so that the flames of civil war were lighted 
up at both ends of the empire, and extended them- 
selves even to the capital. 

These Lesgians ravaged all that country which 
stretches along the western borders of the Caspian 
bea, as far as Derbent, or the Iron Gate. In 
this country is situated the city of Shamache, 
atjout lifteen leagues distant from the sea, and is 
Kaid to have been the ancient residence of Cyrus, 
and by the Greeks called Cyropolis, for we know 
nothing of the situation or names of these coun- 
tries, but what we have from the Greeks ; butM 
the Persians never had a prince called Gym*, 


much less had they any city called CyropoJis It 
i^ much iu the same manner that the Jews, who 
commenced authors when they were settled in 
Alexandria, framed a notion of a city called 
Scythopolis, which, said they, was built by the 
Scythians in the neighbourhood of Judea, as if 
either Scythians or ancient Jews could iiave 
given Greek names to their towns. 

The city of Shamache was very rich. The 
Armenians, who inhabit in the neighbourhood of 
this part of the Persian empire, carried on an 
immense traffic there, and Peter had lately esta- 
blished a company of Russian merchants at his 
own expense, which company became very 
flourishing. The Lesgians made themselves 
masters of this city by surprise, plundered it, and 
put to death all the Russians who traded there 
under the protection of shah Hussein, after hav- 
ing stripped all their warehouses. The loss on 
this occasion was said to amount to four millions 
of rubles. 

Peter upon this sent to demand satisfaction of 
the emperor Hussein, who was then disputing the 
throne with the rebel Mahmoud, who had usurped 
it, and likewise of IMahmoud himself, 'ihe former 
of these was willing to do the czar justice, tlie 
other refused it ; Peter therefore resolved to nght 
himself, and take advantage of the di.stractiona 
in the Per.'^ian empire. 

Alir-Mahmoud still pushed bis conquests in 
Persia. The soj)hi hearing that the emjiero^ of 
Russia was prejiaring to enter the Caspian Sea, 
iu order to revenge the murder of his Mjhjects at 
Shamache, made private apjilicati(;n to him, by 
jueans of an Armenian, to take upon him at the 
same lime the deff-nre of Persia. 

Peter had for a considerable time formed <^ 
urojert to mak? himself master of the Caspi:ui 


Sea, by ntians of a powerful naval force, and to 
turn the tide of commerce from Persia and apart 
of India through his own dominions. FTe had 
caused several parts of this sea to be sounded, 
the coasts to be surveyed, and exact charts made 
of the whole. He then set sail for the coast of 
Persia the 15th day of May, 172'.^. Catherine 
accompanied him in this voyage, as she had done 
in the former. They sailed down the Wolga as 
far as the city of Astreican. From thence he 
hastened to forward the canals which were to 
join the Caspian, the Baltic, and the Euxine 
seas, a work which has been since executed in 
part under the reign of his grandson. 

While he was directing these works, the neces- 
sary provisions for his expedition were arrived 
in the Caspian Sea. He was to take with him 
twenty-two thousand foot, nine thousand dra- 
goons, fifteen thousand Cossacks, and three thou- 
sand seamen, wlio were to work the ships, and 
occasionally assist the soldiery in making descents 
on the coast. The horse were to march over 
land through deserts where there was frequently 
no water to be had, and afterwards to pass over 
the mountains of Caucasus, where three hundred 
men are sufficient to stop the progress of a whole 
army ; but the distracted condition in which 
Persia then was, warranted the most hazardous 

The czar sailed about a hundred leagues to the 
.southward of Astracan, till he came to the little 
town of Andrewhoff. It may appear extraordi- 
nary to hear of the name of Andrew on the coasts 
of the Hyrcanian Sea ; but some Georgians, who 
were formerly a sect of Christians, had built this 
town, which the Persians afterwards fortified ; 
but it fell an easy prey to the czar's arms. From 
thence he continued advancing by land into the 


province of Daghestau, and caused manifestoes 
to be circulated in the Turkish and Persian lan- 
guages.* It was necessary to keep fair with the 
Ottoman Porte, who reckoned among its sub- 
jects, not only the Circassians and Georgians, 
who border upon this country, but also several 
powerful vassals, who had of late put themselves 
under the protection of the grand seignior. 

Among others there was one very powerful, 
named Mahmoud d'Utmich, who took the title 
of sultan, and had the courage to attack the czar's 
troops, by which he was totally defeated, and 
the story says, that his whole country was made 
a bonfire on the occasion. 

Sept. 14, 1722.] In a short time afterwards 
Peter arrived at the city of Derbent, by the Per- 
sians and Turks called Demir Capi, that is, the 
Iron Gate, and so named from having formerly 
had an iron gate at the south entrance. The 
city is long and narrow, its upper part joins to a 
rocky branch of IMount Caucasus, and the walls 
of the lower part are washed by the sea, which 
in violent htorms make a breach over them. These 
walls might jjass for one of the wonders of an- 
tiquity, being forty feet in height, and six in 
breadth, defended with square towers at the dis- 
tance of every fifty feet. The whole work seems 
one uniform piece, and is built of a sort of brown 
free-stone mixed with pounded shells, which 

• These be published and distributed along the bor- 
ders of the Caspian Sea, therein declaring — That h« 
came not npoa the frontiers of Persia, with an intention 
of reducing any of the provinres of that kingdom to bis 
obedience, but only to maintain the lawful possessor of 
them on bis throne, and to defend him jjowerfully, toge- 
Mrilh his faithful subjects, against the tyranny of Mir 
IVlahmoud, and to obtain satisfaction from him and his 
Tartars, fur the robberies and mittchiL-fs which they had 
ooinmitted in the Russian empire. 


served as mortar, so that the whole forms a mass 
harder than marble. The city lies open from the 
sea, but part of it next the land appears impreg- 
nable. There are still some ruins of an old wall 
like that of China, which must have been built 
in the earliest times of antiquity, and stretched 
from the borders of the Caspian Sea to the Pon- 
tus Euxiuus ; and this was probably a rampart 
raised by the ancient kings of Persia against 
those swarms of barbarians which dwelt between 
those two seas. 

According to the Persian tradiiion, the city of 
Derbent was partly repaired and fortified by 
Alexander the Great. Arrian and Quintus Cur- 
tius tell us, that Alexander absolutely rebuilt this 
city. They say indeed that it was on the banks of 
the Tanais or Don, but then in their time the 
Greeks gave the name of Tanais to the river Cy- 
rus, which runs by the city. It would be a con- 
tradiction to suppose that Alexander should build 
a harbour in the Caspian Sea, on a river that 
opens into the Black Sea. 

There were formerly three or four other porta 
in different parts of the Caspian Sea, all which 
were probably built with the same view ; for the 
several nations inhabiting to the west, east, and 
north of that sea, have in all times been barba- 
rians, who had rendered themselves formidable 
to the rest of the world, and from hence princi- 
pally issued those swarms of conquerors who sub- 
jugated Asia and Europe. 

And here I must beg leave to remark, how 
much pleasure authors in all ages have taken to 
impose upon mankind, and how much they have 
preferred a vain show of eloquence to matter of 
fact. Qaintus Curtius puts into the mouths of 
Scythians an admirable speech full of moderation 
and philosophy, as if the Tartars of those regiont 


had been all so many sages, and that Alexander 
had not been the general nominated by the Ureeks 
against the king of Persia, sovereign of the great- 
est part of southern Scythia and the Indies. Other 
rhetoricians, thinking to imitate Qiiintus Cur- 
tius, have studied to make us look upon those 
savages of Caucacus anJ its dreary deserts, who 
lived wholly upon rapine and bloodshed, as the 
people in the world most remarkable for austere 
virtue and justice, and have painted Alexander, 
the avenger of Greece, and the conqueror of those 
who would have enslaved him and his country, 
as a public robber, vvho had ravaged the world 
without justice or reason. 

Such writers do not consider, that these Tar- 
tars were never otlier than destroyers, and that 
Alexarider built towns in the very country which 
they inhabited •, and in this respect 1 may ven- 
ture to coaipare Peter the Great to Alexander , 
like him he was assiduous and indefatigable in 
his pursuits, a lover and friend of the useful arts ; 
he surpassed him as a lawgiver, and like him 
endeavoured to change the tide of commerce in 
the world, and built and repaired at least as 
many towns as that celebrated hero of antiquity. 

On the approach of the Russian army, the 
governor of Derbent resolved not to sustain a 
siege, whether he thought he was not able to de- 
fend the place, or that he preferred the czar's 
protection to that of the tyrant Mahmoud ; 
brought the keys of the town and citadel (which 
were silver) and presented them to Peter, whose 
army pea':eably entered the city, and then en- 
ramped on the sea- shore. 

riie usurper, Mahmoud, already master of 
great part of Persia, in vain endeavoured to pre- 
vent file czar from taking possession of Derbent : 
he stirred up the neighbouring Tartars, and 


marched into Persia to the relief of the place ; 
but, too late, for Derbent was already in the hands 
of the conqueror. 

Peter hov/ever was not in a condition to push 
his successes any further at this time. The ves- 
sels which were bringing him a fresh supply of 
provisions, horses, and recruits, had been cast 
away near Astracan, and the season was far 
spent. He therefoie returned to Moscow, Jan. 5. 
which he entered in triumph ; ajid after bis arri- 
val (according to custom) gave a strict account 
of his expedition to the vice-czar Romadanowski, 
thus keeping up this extraordinary farce, which, 
says his eulogium, pronounced in the academy of 
sciences at Paris, ought to have been performed 
before all the monarchs of the earth. 

The empire of Persia continued to be divided 
between Hussein and the usurper Mahmoad. 
The first of these thought to find a protector in 
the czar, and the other dreaded him as an 
avenger, who was come to snatch the fruits of 
his rebellion out of his hands. Mahmoud ex- 
erted all his endeavours to stir up the Ottoman 
Porte against Peter, and for this purpose sent an 
embassy to Constantinople, while the princes of 
Daghestan, who were under the protection of 
the grand seignior, and had been stript of their 
territories by the victorious army of Peter, cried 
aloud for vengeance. The divan was now alarmed 
for the safety of Georgia, which the Turks reckon 
in the number of their dominions. 

The grand seignior was on the point of de- 
claring war against the czar, but was prevented 
by the courts of Vienna and Paris. The empe- 
ror of Germany at the same time declared, that 
if Russia should be attacked by the Turks, he 
must be obliged to defend it. The marquis de 
Uonac, the French ambassador at Constantinople, 


made a dextrous use of the menaces of the Im- 
perial court, aud at the same time insinuated, 
that it was contrary to the true interest of the 
Turkish empire, to suffer a rebel and an usurper 
to set the example of dethroning sovereigns, and 
tliat the czar had done no more than what the 
grand seignior himself ought to have done. 

During these delicate negotiations, Mir Mah- 
moud was advanced to the gates of Derbent, and 
had laid waste all the neighbouring country in 
order to cut off all means of subsistence from the 
Russian army. That part of ancient Hyrcania, 
now called Ghilan, was reduced to a desert, and 
the inhabitants threw themselves under the pro- 
tection of the Russians, whom they looked upon 
as their deliverers. 

In this they followed the example of the sophi 
himself, i hat unfortunate prince sent a formal 
embassy to Peter the Great, to request his as- 
sistance ; but the ambassador was hardly de- 
parted, when the rebel, Alir Mahmoud, seized 
on Ispahan and the person of his master. 

Ihamaseb, the son of the dethroned sophi, 
who was taken prisoner, found means to escape 
out of the tyrant's hands, and got together a body 
of troops, with which he gave the usurper battle. 
He seconded his father's entreaties to Peter the 
Great for his protection, and sent to the ambas- 
sador the same instructions which Shah Hussein 
nad given him. 

This ambassador, whose name was Ishmael 
Beg, found that his negotiations had proved suc- 
cessful, even before he arrived in person ; for, 
on landing at Asiracan, he learnt that general 
Matufkin was going to set out with fresh recruits 
to reinforce the army in Daghealan. The dey of 
Baku or Baclin, whiih with the Persians givea 
to the Ca-^pian Sea the name of the Sea of Bai ou. 


was not yet taken. The ambassador therefore 
gave the Russian general a letter for the inha- 
bitants, in which be exhorted tliem in his mas- 
ter's name to submit to the emperor of Russia. 
The ambassador then ])roceeded to Petersburg, 
and general Matufkin departed to lay siege to 
the city of Bachu. (Aug. 17-23.) The Persian 
ambassador arrived at the czar's court the verr 
day that tidings were brought of the reduction 
of that city. 

Baku is situate near Shamacbe, but is neitner 
so Well peopled, nor so rich as the latter. It is 
chic fly remarkable for the naptba, with which it 
furni.shes all Persia. Never was treaty so 
speedily concluded as that of Ishmael Beg. 
(Sept. 1723.) Czar Peter promised to march 
with his forces into Persia, in order to revenge 
the death of his subjects, and to succour Thama- 
seb against the usurper of his crown, and the 
new sophi in return was to cede to him, not only 
the towns of Bachu and Derbeut, but likewise 
the provinces of Ghilan, Mazanderan, and As- 

Ghilan is, as we have already observed, the 
ancient South Hyrcania ; Mazanderan, which 
joins to it, is the covmtry of the Mardi, or Mar- 
dians ; and Asterabath borders upon Mazan- 
deran. These were the three principal provinces 
of the ancient Median kings ; so that Peter be- 
held himself, by the means of arms and treaties, 
in possession of the original kingdom of Cyrus. 

It may not be foreign to our subject to observe, 
that by the articles of this convention, the prices 
of necess.Hries to be furnished to the army were 
settled. A camel was to cost only sixty franks 
(about twelve rubles) a pound of bread no more 
than five farthings, the same weight of beef about 
six. These prices furnish a convincing proof of 


the plenty he found in these countries, that pos- 
sessions in land are of the most intrinsic value, 
and that money, which is only of nominal worth, 
was it that time very scarce. 

Such was the deplorable state to which Persia 
was then reduced, that the unfortunate sophi 
Thamaseb, a wanderer in his own kingdom, and 
flying before the face of the rebel, Mahmoud, who 
had dipt his hands in the blood of his father and 
his brothers, was necessitated to entreat the 
court of Russia and the Turkish divan to accept 
of one part of his dominions to preserve for him 
the rest. 

It was agreed then, between czar Peter, sultan 
Achmet III. and the sophi Thamaseb, that the 
first of these should keep the three provinces 
above-named, and that the Porte should have 
Casbin, Tauris, and Erivan, besides what she had 
already taken from tlie usurper. Thus was this 
noble kingdom dismembered at once by the 
Russians, the Turks, and the Persians them- 

And now the emperor Peter might be said to 
extend his dominions from the furthest part of the 
Baltic Sea, beyond the southern limits of the 
Caspian. Persia still continued a prey to viola- 
tions and devastations, and its natives, till then 
opulent and polite, were now sunk in poverty and 
barbarism, while the Russian people had arisen 
from indigence and ignorance to a state of riches 
and learning. One single man, by a resolute 
and enterprising genius, had brought his country 
out of obscurity ; and another, by his weakness 
and indolence, had brought destruction upon his. 

Hitherto we know very little of the private cala- 
mities which for so long a time spread desolation 
over the face of the Persian empire. It is said, that 
shah Hussein was so pusillanimous as to place 


Avith his own hands the tiara or crown of Persia 
on the head of the usurper Mahnioud, and also 
that this Mahmoud afterwards went mad. Thus 
the lives nf so many thousands of men depenij on 
the caprice of a madman or a fool. I'hey add 
furthermore, that AJahmoud, in one of his fits of 
frenzy, put to death with his own hand all the 
sons and nephews of the shah Hussein to the 
number of a hundred ; and that he caused the 
gospel of Sr. John to be read upon his head, in 
order to punfv himself, and to receive a cure for 
his disorder. These and such like Persian fables 
have been circulated by our monks, and after- 
wards printed in Paris. 

The tyrant, after having murdered his uncle, 
was in his turn put to death by his nephew EshreflF, 
who was as cruel and bloody a tyrant as Mab- 
moud himself. 

Shah Thamaseb still continued imploring the 
assistance of Russia. 'I'his I'hamaseb or shah 
Thomas, was assisted and afterwards replaced 
on the throne by the famous Kouli Khan, and was 
again dethroned by the same Kouli Khan. 

The revolutions and wars which Russia bad 
afterwards to encounter against the Turks, and 
in which she proved victorious, the evacuating 
the three provinces in Persia, which cost Russia 
more to keep than they were worth, are events 
which do not concern Peter the Great, as they 
did not happen till several years after his death ; 
it may suffice to observe, that he finished bis mi- 
litary career by adding three provinces to bis 
empire on the part next to Persia, after having 
just before added the same number on that side 
next to Sweden. 



Of the Coronation of the Empress Catherine I. and 
the Death of Peter the Great. 

T)ETER, at his return from his Persian expe- 
dition, found himself in a better condition 
than ever to be the arbiter of the North. He 
now openly dechired himself the protector of 
Charles XII. whose professed enemy he had 
been for eighteen years. He sent for the duke of 
Holstein, nephew to that monarch, to his court, 
promised him his eldest daughter in marriage, 
and began to make preparations for supporting 
him in his claims on the duchy of Holstein 
.Sleswick, and even engaged himsoif so to do by 
a treaty of alliance, (Feb. 17^4.) wiiich he con- 
cluded with the crown of Sweden. 

He continued the works he had begun all over 
his empire, to the further extremity of Kamt- 
shatka, and for the bettc-r direction of them, es- 
tablished an academy of sciences at Petersburg. 
'Ihe arts began now to flourish on every side : 
manufactures were encouraged, the navy was 
augmented, the army well provided, and the 
laws properly enforced. He now enjoyed his 
glory in full rej)Ose ; but was desirous of sharing 
it in a new manner with her who, according to 
his own declrtration, by remedying the disaster 
of the cam])aign of Pruth. had been in some 
measure the instrument of his acquiring that 

Accordingly, the coronation of his consort 
Catherine was performed at Moscow, in pre- 
sence of the ducliess of (^ourland, his eldest bro- 
ther's daughter, and the duke of Holstein, hi>i in- 
tended son- in law. (May 28. 17^4.) 'Iho de- 


claration which he published on this occasion 
merits attenlion : he therein cites the examples 
of several Christian princes who had placed the 
crown on the beads of their consorts, as likewise 
those of the heathen e-mperors, Basilides, Justi- 
nian, Heraclius, and Leo, the philosopher. He 
enumerates the services Catherine had done to the 
state, and in particular in the war against the 
Turks, — ' Where mv army,' says he, ' which had 
been reduced to 22,000 men, had to encounter an 
army above 200,000 strong.' He does not ear, 
in this declaration, that the empress was to suc- 
ceed to the crown after his death ; but this cere- 
mony, which was altogether new and unusual in 
the Russian empire, was one of those means by 
which he prepared the minds of his subjects for 
8uch an event. Another circumstance that might 
perhaps furnish a stronger reason to believe that 
he destined Catherine to succeed him on the 
throne, was. that he himself marched on foot 
before her the day of her coronation, as captain 
of a new company, which he had created under 
the name of the knights o^^" the empres-i. 

When they arrived at the cathedral, Peter him- 
self placed the crown on her bead ; and when she 
would have fallen down and embraced his xnees, 
he prevented her ; and. at their return from the 
church, caused the sceptre and globe to be car- 
ried before hc^r. The ceremony was altogether 
worthy an emperor • for on every public occasion 
Peter shewed as pomp and magnificence 
AS he did plainness and simplicity in his private 
manner of living. 

Having thus crowned his spouse, he at length 
determined to give his eldest daughter, Anna 
Petrowna, in marriage to the duke of Holstein. 
This princess greatlv resen.»t>led her father in tho 
face, was very majestic, and of a singular beauty 


Slip was betrothed to the duke of Hoi stein on the 
?4th of November, 1724, but with very little 
ceremony. Peter having for some time past 
found his }iealth greatly impaired, and this, to- 
gether with some family uneasiness, tliat perhaps 
rather increased his disorder, which in a short 
time proved fatal, permitted him to have but very 
little relish for feasts or public diversions in this 
latter part of his life. 

•The empress Catherine had at that time a 
young man for the chamberlain of her household, 
whose name was Moens de la Croix, a native of 
Russia, but of Flemish parents, remarkably hand- 
some and genteel. His sister, madame de Bale, 
was bed-chamber-woman to tlie empress, and 
these two had entirely the management of her 
household Being both accused of having taken 
presents, they were sent to prison, and afterwards 
brought to their trial by express order of the czar ; 
who, by an edict in the year 1714, had forbidden 
any one holding a place about court to receive 
any present or other gratuity, on pain of being 
declared infamous, and suffering death ; and this 
prohibition had been several times renewed. 

The brother and sister were foimd guilty, and 
received sentence, and all those who had either 
purchased their services or given them any gra- 
tuity in return for tlie same, were included therein, 
except the duke of Holstein and his minister 
count Bassewitz : as it is probable that the pre- 
sents made by that prince, to those who had a 
share in bringiiig about his marriage with the 
czar's daughter, were not looked upon in a cri 
minal light. 

Moens was condemned to be beheaded, and his 
sister (who was the empress's favourite) to re- 
ceive eleven strokes of the knout. The two sons 
• Memoirs of Basnewitz. 


of this lady, one of \vhom was an officer in the 
household, and the other a page, were degraded, 
and sent to serve as private soldiers in the army 
in Persia. 

These severities, though they shock our man- 
ners, were perhaps necessary in a country where 
the observance of the laws is to be enforced only 
by the most terrifying rigour. The empress soli- 
cited her favourite's pardon ; but the czar, of- 
fended at her application, peremptorily refused 
her, and, in the heat of his passion, seeing a fine 
looking-glass in the apartment, he, with one blow 
of his fist, broke it into a thousand pieces ; and, 
turning to the empress, ' Thus,' said he, ' thou 
seest I can, with one stroke of my hand, reduce 
this glass to its original dust.' Catherine, in a 
melting accent, replied, ' It is true, yoa have de- 
stroyed one of the greatest ornaments of your 
palace, but do you think that palace is the more 
charming for its loss V This answer appeased the 
emperor's wrath ; but all the favour that Catherine 
could obtain for her bed-chamber-woman was, 
that she should receive only five strokes of the 
knout instead of eleven. 

I should not have related this anecdote, had it 
not been attested by a a public minister, who was 
•^ye-witness of the whole transaction, and who, 
by having made presents to the unfortunate 
brother and lister, was perhaps himself one of ihe 
principal causes of their disgrace and sufferings. 
It was this affair that emboldened those who 
judge of every thing in tlie worst light, to spread 
the report that Catherine hastened the death of 
her husband, whose choleric disposition filled her 
with apprehensions that overweighed the grati- 
tude she owed him for the many favours he had 
heaped upon her. 

These erne sut^picions were confirmed by 


Catherine's recalling to court her of the 
bed-chamber immediately upon the death of the 
czar, and reinstating her in her former influence. 
It is the duty of an historian to relate the public 
reports which have been circulated in all times 
in states, on the decease of princes who have been 
snatched away by a premature death, as if nature 
was not alone sufficient to put a period to the 
existence of a crowned head as well as that of a 
beggar ; but it is likewise the duty of an historian 
to shew how far such reports were rashly or un- 
justly formed. 

There is an immense distance between the mo- 
Uientary discontent which may arise from the 
morose or harsh behaviour of a husband, apd 
the desperate resolution of poisoning that hus- 
band, who is at the same time our sovereign and 
benefactor in the highest degree. The danger 
attending such a design would have been as great 
as it was criminal. Catherine had at that time 
a powerful party against her, who epoused the 
cause of the son of the deceased czarowitz. 
Nevertheless, neither that faction, nor any one 
person about tiie court, once suspected the czar- 
ina ; and the vague rumours which were spread 
on this head were founded only on the mis- 
taken notions of foreigners, who were very im- 
])erfectly acquainted with the affair, and who 
chose to indulge the wretched pleasure of accus- 
ing of lieinous crimes those whom they thought 
interested to commit them. B>it it was even 
very doubtful whether this was at ail the case 
with Catherine. It was far from being certain that 
she was to succeed her husband. She had been 
crowned indeed, but only in the character of wife 
to the reigning sovereign, and not as one who waa 
to enjoy the sovereign authority after his death. 
Peter in his declaration, had only ordered this 


coronation as a matter of ceremony, and not aa 
conferring a righ* of governing. He therein only 
cited tlie examples of emperors, who had caused 
their consorts to be crowned, but not of those who 
had conferred on them the royal authority. In 
fine, at the very time of Peter's illness, several 
persons believed that the princess Anna Petrowna 
would succeed him jointly with her husband the 
duke of Holstein, or that the czar would nomi- 
nate his grandson for his succei^sor ; therefor*-, 
so far from Catherine's being interested in the 
death of the emperor, she rather seemed con- 
cerned in the preservation of his life. 

It is undeniable, that Peter had, for a consi- 
d«rable time, bet^n troubled with an abscess in the 
bladder, and a stoppage of urine. The mineral 
waters of OInitz, and some others, which he had 
been advised to use, had proved of very little ser- 
vice to him, and he had found himself growing 
sensibly weaker, ever since the beginning of the 
year l7!i;4. His labours, from which h would 
not allow himself any respite, increased his dis- 
order, and has<ened his end: (Jan. 1723.) his 
malady became now more and more desperate , 
he felt burning pains, which threw him into an 
almost constant delirium,* whenever he had a 
moment's interval, he endeavoured to write, but 
he could only scrawl a few lines that were wholly 
unintelligible ; and it was with the greatest dif- 
ficulty that the following words, in the Russian 
language, could be distinguished: — * Let every 
thing be given to ' 

He then called for the princess Anna Petrowna. 
in order to dictate to her, but by that time she 
could come to his bed-side, he had lost his speech, 
and fell into a fit, which lasted sixteen Lours. 
The empress Catherine did not quit his bed-side 
* MS. memoirs of count de Ba&sewuz. 


for three nights together. At length, he breathed 
his last in her arms, on the '28th of Jan. 1725. 
about four o'clock in tlie morning. 

His body was conveyed into the great hall of 
the palace, accompanied by all the imperial fa- 
mily, the senate, all the principal personages of 
state, and an innumerable concourse of people. 
It was there exposed on a bed of state, and every 
one was permifted to approach and kiss his hand, 
till the day of his interment, which was on the 
10-21st of March, 17Si5.* 

* Catherine paid the last duties to her husband's ashea> 
with a pomp becomiag the greatest monarch that Russia, 
or perhaps any other country, had ever known ; and 
thou<;h there is no court of Europe where splendour and 
magnificence is carried to a greater height on these occa- 
sions than in that of Russia, yet it may with great truth 
be said, that she even surpassed herself in the funeral 
hoiiotirs paid to her great Peter. She parcliased the 
most precious kinds of marble, and einpltj^'c-d some of 
the ablest sculptors of Italy to erect a mausoleum to this 
hero, which Oiighl, if possible, transmit the remembrance 
of his ?reat actions to the most distant ages. Tsot satis- 
fied with this, she caused nmeJal to be struck, worthy of 
the ancients. On one side was represented the bust of 
the late crupiror, with these words — ' Peter the Great, 
Emjertr and Sovereign of all Russia, horn Muy SO, 
1672. On the reverse was '.he empress sitting, with the 
crown on her head, the globe and sceptre by her side on 
a table, and before her were a sphere, sea charts, plans, 
mathematical instruments, arras, anJ a caduceus. At 
distances, in ihn e different places, were represented an 
edifice on the sea coast, with a platform before it, a ship 
and galley &t sen, and the late emperor in liie clouds, sup- 
ported by fcttruity, looking on the empress, ond shewiug 
her with his right hand all the treasures he had left 
her, with these word.*, ' Behold wljat I iiaveleft you.' In 
the exergue, ' Deceased 28 Junuarj', 17?5.' Several ot 
these medals she ordered to be struck in gold, to tb4 
weight of fifty ducats, and distributed amoi g the foreign 



It has been thought, and it has been assert- 
ed in pnnt, that be had appointed his wife C» 

miniaterfi, and all the grandees of the empire, aa a testi. 
moDj of her respect aud gratitude to the memory of hei 
late husband, to whose generosity she took a pleasure ii 
owning herself indebted for her present elevated station, 
Mottley gives us the following, as the czar's epitaph : 

Here lieth, 

All that could die of a mau immortal, 


It is almost superfluous to add, 

Great Emperor of Russia .' 

A title, 

Which, instead of adding to his glory, 

Became glorious by his wearing it. 

Let antiquity be dumb, 

Not boast her Alexander, cr her Caesar. 

How easy was victory 

To leaders who were followed by heroes ! 

And whose soldiers felt a noble disdain 

At being thought less vigilant than their generals! 

But he, 

Who in this place first knew rest. 

Found subjects base and inactive, 

Uuwarlike, unlearned, uniractable; 

Neither covetous of fame, nor fearless of danger; 

Creatures with the names of men, 

But with qualities rather brutal than rational ! 

Yet, even these 

He polished from their native ruggedness; 

And, breaking oat like a new sun. 

To illuminate the minds of a people. 

Dispelled their night of hereditary darknes* ; 

And, by force of his invincible influence, 

Taught them to conquer 

Even the conquerors of Germany. 

Otb«r princes have commanded victorious armies; 

This commander created them. 

Blush, O Art! at a hero who owed thee nothinf 

EjoI*. Nature ! for thine was this prodigj'. 


therine to succeed him in the empire, by his last 
will, but the truth is, that he never made any 
will, or at least none that ever appeared ; a most 
astonishing negligence in so great a legislator, 
and a proof that he did not think his disorder 

No one knew, at the time of his death, who 
was to succeed him : he left behind him his 
grandson Peter, son of the unfortunate Alexis, 
and his eldest daughter Anna, married to the 
duke of [Jolstein. There was a considerable fac- 
tion in favour of young I'eter ; but prince Men- 
zikoff, who had never had any other interests 
than those of the empress Catherine, took care 
to be beforehand with all parlies, and their de- 
signs ; and accordingly, when the czar was upon 
the point of giving up the ghost, he caused the 
empress to remove into another apartment of 
the palace, where all their friends were assem- 
bled ready : he had the royal treasures conveyed 
into the citadel, and secured the guards in his 
interest, as likewise the archbishop of Novogo- 
rod ; and then they held a private council, in 
presence of the empress Catherine, and one 
I^Iacarof, a secretary, in whom they could con- 
fide, at which the duke of Holstein's minister as- 

At the breaking up of this council, the empress 
returned to the czar's bed-side, who soon after 
yielded up the ghost in her arms. As soon as 
his death was made known, the principal senators 
and general officers repaired to the palace, where 
the empress made a speech to them, which 
prince Menzikoft' ansv/ered in the name of all 
present. The empress being withdrawn, they 
proceeded to consider the proper forms to be ob- 
served on tl»e occasion, when Theophaues, arch- 
bishop of Pleskow, told the assembly, that, ua 


the eve of the corouation of the empress Catherine, 
the deceased czar had declared to him, that his 
sole reason for placing the crown on her head, 
was, that she might wear it after his death ; 
upon which the assembly unanimously signed 
the proclamation, and Catherine succeeded her 
husband on the throne the verj- day of his death. 
Peter the Great was regretted by all those 
whom he had formed, and the descendants of 
those who had been sticklers for the ancient cus- 
to:iiS soon began to look on him as their father ; 
foreign nations, who have beheld the duration of 
his establishments, have always expressed the 
highest admiration for his memory, acknowledg- 
ing that he was actuated by a more than common 
prudence and wisdom, and not by a vain desire 
of doing extraordinary things. All Europe knows 
that though he was fond of fame, he coveted it 
only for noble principles ; that though he had 
faults, they never obscured his noble qualities, 
and that, though, as a man, he was liable to 
errors, as a monarch he was always great : he 
every way forced nature, in his subjects, in him- 
self, by sea and land : but he forced her only to 
render her more pleasin-g and noble. The arts, 
which he transplanted with his own hands, into 
r^3untries, till then in a manner savage, have 
flourished, and produced fruits which are lasting 
testimonies of his genius, and will render his 
memory immortal, since they now appear as na- 
tives of those places to which he introduced 
them. The civil, political, and military go- 
vernment, trade, manufactures, the arts and the 
sciences, have all been carried on, according to 
his plan, and by an event not to be paralleled 
m history : we have seen four women succes- 
sively ascend the throne after him, who have 
raAintained, in full vigouti all th? great designs 


be accomplished, and have completed those 
which he had begun. 

The court has undergone some revolutions 
since his death, but the empire has not suffered 
one. Its splendour was increased by Catherine 1. 
It triumphed over the Turks and the Swede* 
under Anna Petrowna ; and under Elizal)eth it 
conquered Prussia, and a part of Pomerania ; and 
lastly, it has tainted the swi-f^ts of peace, and has 
seen the arts flourish in I'uiness and security in 
the reign of Catheriue the Second.* 

Let the historians of that nation enter into the 
minutest circumstances of the new creation, the 
wars and undertakings of l*eter the Great : let 
them rouse the emulation of their countrymen, 
by celebrating those heroes who assisted this 

* The digtingui^hed regard which this princess shews 
for the arts and sciences, aud her endeavours to attract 
the great geniuses of all nations to reside in her dominions, 
by every possible encouragement, affords the strongest 
presumptions, that in hiir reign we shall see a second 
age of Louis XIV. and of this we have had a recent 
proof, in the obliging letter which this august princess 
wrote with her own hand to M. d'AIembert, and the 
choice she has since made of M. Duplex, a member of 
the roj'al academy of sciences at Paris, when the before- 
mentioned gentleman thought fit to decline the gracious 
offers she made him. In which choice slie has shewn 
that it is not birth nor rank, but true merit and virtue, 
which she considers au the essential qualidcations in a 
person to whom she would conCde the most sacred of 
all trusts, that of the education of ihe grand duke, her 
son. What then may not be expected from the admi- 
nistration of a sovereign so superior to vulgar prejudice' 
And especially' when assisted by a Woronzoff and a Oa- 
litiin. both the proft-ssed friends and patrons of literatar« 
and the fine arts, which they thenselves have not dis- 
dained to cultivate, when business and the weighty af- 
fair* of state have allowed them a few moments leisurat 


monarch in ais labours, in the field, and in the 
cabinet. It is sufficient for a stranger, a disin- 
terested admirer of merit, to have endeavoured 
to set to view that great man, who learned of 
Charles XII. to conquer him, who twice quitted 
his dominions, in order to govern them the better, 
who worked with his own hands, in almost all 
the useful and necessary arts, to set an examp.e 
of instruction to his people, and who was the 
founder and the father of his empire.* 

• The following anecdote, communicated by a noble- 
man of the strictest probity, who was himself an eye-wit- 
ness of the fact, will give us a clear in8i<,'ht into the cha- 
racter and disposition of Peter I. In one of the manj 
plots which was formed against the life and government 
of this monarch, there was among the number of those 
seized a soldier, belonging to his own regiment of 
guards. Peter being told by his officers that this man 
had always behaved extremely well, had a curiosity to 
see him, and learn from his own mouth what might have 
been his inducement to be concerned in a plot against him; 
and to this purpose he dressed himself in a plain garb, 
ftnd so as not to be known by the man again, and went 
to the prison where he was confined, when, after soma 
conversation, '1 should he glad to know, friend,' said Peter, 
' what were your reasons for being concerned in an at- 
tempt against the emperor your master, as I am certain 
that he never did you any injury, but on the contrary, 
has a regard for you, as being a brave soldier, and one 
who have always done your duty in the field ; and there- 
fore, if you were to shew the least remorse for what you 
have done. I am persuaded that the emperor would for- 
give you : but before I interest mj'self in your behalf, 
you must tell me what motives you had to join the muti- 
neers ; and repeat to you again, that the emperor is natu- 
rally so good and compassionate, that I am certain he 
will give you your pardon." 

' 1 know little or nothing of the emperor," replied th« 
soldier, ' for I never saw him but at a distance ; but he 
<s6used my father's head to be cnt off some time ago, for 


Princes, who reign over states long eince civi- 
lized, may sajto themselves, ' If a man, assisted 
only by Lis own genius, has been capable of doing 
such great things in the frozen climes of ancient 
Scythia, what may not be expected from us, in 
kingdoms where the arcuraulated labours of many 
ages have rendered the way so easy V 

being concerned in h former rebellion, and it is the duty 
of a Bon to revenge the death of his father, by that of the 
p«r8on who took away his life. If then the emperor is 
really so good and merciful as you have represented him. 
counsel him, for his own safety not to pardon me; for 
were he to restore me my liberty, the first use I shoald 
make of it would be, to engage in some new attempt 
against his life, nor should I ever rest till I had accom- 
plished m^' design ; therefore the securest method he 
can take, will be to onier my head to be struck oflf imme- 
diately, without which his own life is not in safety.' The 
czar in vain used all the arguments he could think of, to 
■et befonj this desperado the foUj' and injustice of snck 
sentiments ; he still persisted in what he had declared, 
and Peter departed, greatly chagrined at the bad succeM 
of his visit, and gave orders for the execution of tbuaDAO 
Mid the reit of hU accomplioeft. 





Pronounced against the Czarowitz ALSXit, 
June (14th, 1718. 
Br Tirtue of an express ordinance issued bj- his czariah 
majesty, and signed by his own hand, on the I3th of Jane, 
for the judgment of the czarowitz Alexis Petrowita, 
in relation to his crinaes and transgressions against hii 
father and sovereign ; the undernamed ministers and se. 
nators, estates military and civil, after having assembled 
several times in the regency chamber of the senate of 
Petersburg, and having heard read the original writings 
and testimonies given against the czarowitz, as also bis 
majes<y'8 admonitory letters to that pr'nce, and his an- 
swers to them in his own writing, and other acts relating 
to the process, and likewise the criminal informations, de- 
clarations and confessions of the czarowitz, partly written 
with his own hand, and partly delivered byword of mouth 
to his father and sovereign, before the several persons 
anderuamed, constituted by his czarish majesty's autho- 
rity to the effect of the present jurigment, do acknowledge 
and declare, that though according to the laws of the 
Russian empire, it belongs not to them, the natural sub- 
jects of his czarish majesty's sovereign dominions, to take 
cognizance of an affair of thi? nature, which for its im- 
portance depends solely on the absolute will of the sove- 
reign, whose power, unlimited by any law, is derived 
from God alone ; yet, ia submission to his ordinance who 
hath given them this liberty, and after mature reflection, 
observing the dictates of th^ir consciences without fear, 
flatter^', or respect of persons, having nothing before their 
•yes but the divine laws applicable to the present case, the 
sanons and rules of councils, the authority of the holy 
and doctors of the church, and taking also for tbaif 


nile tke instruction of tfie archbishops and c iergj' assembled 
at Petersburg on this occasion, and conforming themselve* 
to the laws and constitutions of this empire, which art 
agreeable to those of other nations, especially the Greeks 
and the Romans, and other Christian princes ; they una- 
nimously atrreed and pronounced the c/.arowitz Alexis 
Petrowitz to be worthy of death, for the aforesaid crimes 
and capital transgressions against his sovereign and father, 
he being his czarish majesty's son aod subject ; and that, 
notwithstanding the promise given by his czarish majesty 
to the czarowitz, in a letter sent by M. Tolstoj' and cap- 
tain Romanzofif, dated from Spaw, the lOth of July, 171? , 
to pardon his elopement if he voluntarily returned, asth^ 
czarowitz himself acknowledges with gratitude, ia hi6 
answer to that letter, dated from Naples, the 4th of Oc- 
tober, 1717, wherein he returns thanks to his majesty for 
the pardon he had promised him solely on condition of his 
speedy and voluntar- return ; 3'et he bath forfeited and 
rendered himself unworthy of that pardon, by renewing 
and continuing his former transgressions, as is fully set 
forth in his majesty's manifesto of the 3d.of February, in 
this present year, and for not returning voluntarily and 
of his own accord. 

And although his majesty did, upon the arrival of the 
czarowitz at Moscow, and his humbly confessing in writ- 
ing his crimes, and asking pardon for tljcm.take pity on 
him, as is natural for every father to act towards a son, 
and at the audience, held in the great hall of the castle, 
dated the said 3d day of February, did promise him full 
pardon for all his crimes and transgressions, it was only 
on condition that he would declare, without reserve or re- 
striction, all his designs, and who were his counsellors 
and abettors therein, but that if he concealed any one per- 
son or thing, that in such case the promised pardon should 
be null and void, which conditions the czarowitz did at that 
time accept and receive, with all outward tokens of grati- 
tude and obedience, solemnly swearing on the holy cross 
and the blessed evangelists, and in the presence of all those 
assembled at that time and for that purpose in the cathedral 
church, thai he wo"jld faithfuUj', and without reserve, de- 
clare the whole truth 

His majesty d- i also the next day conlirm to t'je czar- 
K C 

894 :|ISIORY OF 

owitzin writing the said promise, in the interrogatoriet 
which hereafter follow, and which his majesty caused to be 
delivered to him, having first written at the begining what 
follows : 

' As you did yesterday receive your pardon, oTV>coDdt 
tion that j-ou would confess all the circumstances of youi 
flight, and whatever relates tliereto ; but if j'ou concealed 
any part thereof, j-ou should answer for it with your life; 
and, as j'ou have already made some confessions, it is ex- 
pected of you, for our more full satisfaction, and your own 
safety, to commit the same to writing, in such order as 
shall in the course of your examination be pointed out to 

And at the end, under the seventh question, there was 
again written, with his czarish majesty's own hand: 

' Declare to us, and discover whatever hath an^' relation 
to this affair, though it be cot here expressed, and clear 
yourself as if it were at confession ; for if you conceal any 
thing that shall by any other means be afterwards disco- 
vered, do not impute the consequence to us, since 3'ou have 
been already' told, that in such case the pardon granted 
you should be null and void.' 

Notwithstauding all which, the answers and confessions 
of the czarowitz were delivered without any sincerity ; he 
not only concealing many of his accomplices, but also the 
capital circumstances relating to his own transgressions, 
particularly his rebellious design in usurping the throne 
even in the life-time of his father, flatteriig himself that 
the populace would declare in his favour ; all which hath 
since been fully discovered in the criminal process, after 
he had refused to make a discovery himself, as hath ap- 
peared by the above presents. 

Thus it hath appearedby the whole conduct of the czar- 
owitz, as well as by the confessions which he both deli- 
vered in writing, and by word of mouth, particularly', that 
be was not disposed to wait for the succession in the man- 
ner in which his father had left it to him after his death, 
according to equity, and the order of nature which God 
has established; but intended to take the crown off the 
head of his father, while living, and set it upon his own, 
not only by a civil insurrection, but by the assistance of ■ 
foreign force, which he had actually requested. 


fheczarowitz has hereby rendered himself unwortlqr 
vif the clemencj- and pardon, promised him by the empe- 
ror hisfather ; and siuce tlielaws divine and ecclesiastical, 
civil and milltarj-, condemn to death, without mercy, not 
only i«Lose whose attempts against their father and sove 
reign have been proved bj' testimonies and writings ; but 
even such as liave been convicted of an intention to rebel, 
and of having formed a base design to kill their sovereign . 
and usurp the throne; what shall we think of a rebellious 
design, almost unparalleled in history, joined to that of a 
horrid parricide, against him who was his father in a dou» 
ble capacity ; a father of great lenity and indulgence, who 
brought up the czarowitz from the cradle with more than 
paternal care and tenderness ; who earnestly endeavoured 
to form him for government, and with incredible pains, 
and indefatigable application, to instruct him in the mi- 
litary art, and qualify him to succeed to so great an empire? 
with how much stronger reason does such a design dfl 
serve to be punished with death ? 

It is therefore with hearts full of aflBiction, and eyes 
streaming with tears, that we, as subjects and servants, pro- 
nounce this sentence; considering that it belongs not to 
U8 to give judgment in a case of so great importance, and 
especially to pronounce against the son of our most pre- 
cious sovereign lord the czar. Is'evertheless, it being hit 
pleasure that we should act in this capacity, we, by these 
presents, declare our real opinion, and pronounce this 
•entence of condemnation with a pure and Christian con- 
science, as we hope to be able to answer for it at the just, 
awful, and impartial tribunal of Almighty God. 

We submit, however, this sentence, which we nowpass, 
to the sovereign power, the will, and merciful revisal of 
his czarish majesty, our most gracious sovereign. 


In the name of the Most Holy and andivided 

Bi it known by these presents, that whereas a bloody, 
lon^.and expensive war has arisen and subsisted for se. 
reral years past, between hia late majesty king Charles 


XII, of glorious memory, king of Sweden, of the Goths, 
and Vandals, &c. &c. his successors to the throne of Swe- 
den, the lady Ulrica queen of Sweden, of the Goths and 
Vandals, &c. and the kingdom of Sweden, on the one part; 
and between his czarish majesty Peter the First, emperor 
of all the Ilussias, &c. and the empire of Russia, on the 
other part; the two powers have thought proper to exert 
their endeavours to find out means to put a period to those 
troubles, and prevent the further etfusion of so much in- 
nocent blood ; and it has pleased the Almighty to dispose 
the hearts of both, powers, to appoint a meeting of their 
ministers plenipctentiarj-. to treat of, aod conclude a firm, 
sincere and lasting peace, and perpetual friendship be- 
tween t'he two powers, their dominions, provinces, coun- 
tries, vassals, subjects, and inhabitants ; namely', Mr. John 
Liliensted, one of the most honourable privj'-council to 
his majesty the king of Sweden, his kingdom and chancery, 
and baron Otto Reinhold Stroemfeld,intendant of the cop. 
per mines and iiefs of Dalders, on the part of his said ma- 
jesty ; and on the part of his czarish majesty, count Jacob 
Daniel Bruce, his general adjutant, president of the colleges 
of mines and manufactories, and knight of the order of 
St, Andrew and the White Zagle, and Mr. Henrj- John 
Frederic Osterman,one of his said majesty's privy-coun- 
sellors in his chancery : which plenipotentiary ministers, 
being assembled at Nystadt, and having communicated 
to each other their respective commissions, and imploring 
the divine assistance, did enter upon this important and 
salutary enterprise, and have, by the grace and blessing 
of God, concluded the following peace between the crown 
of Sweden and his czarish majesty. 

Art. 1. There shall be now and henceforward a perpetual 
and inviolable peace, sincere union, and indissoluble friend- 
ship, between his majesty Frederic the First, king of Swe- 
den, of the Goths and Vandals, his successors to the crowi 
and kingdom of Sweden, his dominions, provinces, coun- 
tries, villages, vassals, subjects, and inhabitants^ as well 
within the Roman empire as out of said empire, on the 
one side ; and his czarish majesty Peter the First, em- 
peror of all the Russias,&c, his successors to the throne 
of Russia, and all his countries, villages, vassals, subjects, 
p.nrt inhabitants, oa the other side; in surh wise, that Inf 


the future, neither of the two reconciled powers shall com- 
mit, or suffer to be coMmitted, any hostility, either pri- 
rately or publicly, direcv^y or indirectlj', nor shall in 
any wise assist the enemies of each other, on any pretext 
whatever, not contract any a.Uiance with them, that may 
be contrary to this peace, but nhall always maintain and 
preserve a sincere friendship towards each other, and as 
much as in them lies, support their mutual honour, advan- 
tage and safety ; as likewise prevent, to the utmost of their 
power, any injury or vexation with which either of the 
reconciled parties may be threatened bj' any other power. 

Art. 2. It is further mutually aj^reed upon betwixt the 
two parties, that a general pardon and act of oblivion for 
all hostilities committed during tlie war, either by arms 
or otherwise, shall be strictly observed, so far as that nei- 
ther partj' shall ever henceforth either call to mind, or 
take vengeance for the same, particularly in regard to 
persons of state, and subjects whc have entered into the 
service of either of the two parties during the war, and 
have thereb3- become enemies to the other, except onljr 
the Russian Cossacks, who enlisted in the service of the 
king of Sweden, and whom his crarish majesty will not 
consent to have included in the said general pardon, not- 
withstanding the intercession made for them by the king 
of Sweden. 

Art. .3. All hostilities, both b^* sea and land, shall ceasa 
both here and in the grand duchy of Finland in fifteen 
days, or sooner, if possible, after the regular exchange of 
the ratifications ; and to this intent the conclusion of the 
peace shall be published without delay. And in case that, 
after the expiration of the said term, any hostilities should 
be committed by either partj-, either by sea or land, in 
any manner whatsoever, through ignorance of the cou- 
elusioa of the peace, such offence shall by no means pre- 
judice the conclusion of said peace ; on the contrary, each 
■ball make a reciprocal exchange of bo'h men and effects 
that may be taken after the said term. 

Art. 4. !lis majesty the king of Sweden does, by the 
present treaty, as well for hims<<lf as for his successors 
to the throne and kingdom of Sweden, cede to his caarish 
majesty, atid his succesgois to tiio Kussiun empire, in full, 
irreTocabieaud everlasting possession, the provinces whic/i 

898 rii STORY Of 

have been taken by his czarish majesty's arms from th<i 
crown of Sweden during this war, viz. Livonia, Esthonia, 
Ingria, and a part of Carelia, as likewise the district of 
the fiefs of Wybourg specified hereafter in the article for 
regulating the limits ; the towns and fortresses of Riga, 
Dunamund, Pernau. Revel, Dorpt, Nerva, Wybourg, 
Kexholm, and the other towns, fortresses, harbours, coun- 
tries, districts, rivers, and coasts, belonsring lo the pro- 
vinces : as likewise the islands of Oesel, Dagoe, Moen, 
and all the other islands from the frontiers of Courland, 
towards the coasts of Livonia, Esthonia, and Ingria, and 
on the east side of Revel, and in the road of Wybourg, 
towards the south-east, with all the present inhabitants of 
those islands, and of the aforesaid provinces, towns, and 
countries ; and in general, all their appurtenances, de. 
pendencies, prerogatives, rights, and advantages, without 
exception, in like manner as the crown of Sweden pos- 
sessed them. 

To which purpose, his majesty the king of Sweden re- 
nounces for ever, in the most solemn manner, as well for 
his own part, as for his successors, and for the whole 
kingdom of Sweden, all pretensions which they have 
hitherto had, or could have, to the said provinces, islands, 
countries, and towns ; and all the inhabitants thereof shall, 
by virtue of these presents, be discharged from the oath 
of allegiance, which they have taken to the crown or 
Sweden, in such wise as that his Swedish majesty, and 
the kingdom of Sweden, shall never hereafter either claim 
or demand the same, on any pretence whatsoever ; but, on 
the contrary, they s4iall be and remain incorporated fo» 
ever into the empire of Russia. Moreover, his Swedish 
majesty, and the kingdom of Sweden, promise by these 
presents to assist and support from henceforth his czarish 
majesty, and his successors to the empire of Russia, in 
the peaceable possession of the said provinces, islands, 
countries, and ;owns ; and that they will find out and 
deliver up to the persons authorized by his czarish majesty 
for that purpose, all the records and papers principally 
belonging to those places which have been taken away 
and c-;rried into Sweden during the war. 

Art 5. His czarish majesty, in return, promiaes to 
evacuate and restore to his Swedish majesty,and the kinf- 


4om of Sweden, within the space of four weeks after the 
exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, or sooner if 
possible, the grand duchy of Finland, except only that 
part thereof which has been reserved by the following 
regulation of the limits which shall belong to his czarish 
majesty, so that his said czarish majesty, and his succe»- 
Bors, never shall have or bring the least claim or demand 
on the said duchy, on any p.-etence whatever. His czarish 
majesty further declares and promises, that certain and 
prompt pajment of two millions of crowns shall be made 
without any discount to the deputies of the king of Sweden, 
on condition that thej* produce and give sufficient receipts, 
as agreed upon ; and the said payment shall be made ia 
such coin as f?hall be agreed upon b}' a separate article, 
which shall be of equal force as if inserted in the body of 
this treaty. 

Art. 6. His majesty the king of Sweden does further 
reserve to himself, in regard to trade, the liberty of buy- 
ing corn yearly at Riga, Revel, and Arensbourg, to the 
amount of fifty thousand rubles, which corn sliall be 
transported from thence into Sweden, withou! paying duty 
or any other taxes, on producing a certiticate, shewing that 
Buch corn has been purchased for the use of his Swedish 
majesty, or by his subjects, chnrged with tlie care of mak- 
ing this purchase by his said majesty ; uiid such right 
shall not be subject to, or depend on any exigency, where- 
in his czarish maj'-stj' may tind it necessary, eitlier on ac- 
count of a bad harvest, or some other important reasons, 
to prohibit in general the exportation of corn to any other 

Art. 7. His czarish majesty does also promis*', in the 
most solemn manner, that he will in no wisi; interfere with 
the private affairs of thn !:ingdom of Sweden, nor with the 
form of government, which has been regulated and esta- 
blished by the oath of allegiance, and unQiiiroons consent 
of the states of said kingdom ; neitlier will he nnsist therein 
any person whatever, in any manner, directly or indirectly; 
but, on the contrary, will endeavour to hinder and prevent 
any disturbance happening, provided bis czarish majesty 
has timely notice of the same, who will on all such oc- 
casions act as a sincere friend and good neighbour to tne 
crown of Sweden. 


Art. 3. And as thej mutually intend lo estallisli a fi' m, 
•incere and lasting peace, to whicli purpose it is very uo- 
cessary to regTilate the limits so, that neither of the partiea 
cau harbour auy jealousy, but that each shall peaceably 
possess whatever has beeu surrendered to him bj- tnis 
treaty of peace, they have thought proper to declare, that 
the two empires shall from henceforth and for ever have 
the following limits, beginning on the northern coast of the 
Bothnic gulf, near Wickolax, from whence they shall ex- 
tend to within half a league of the sea- coast inland, and 
from the distance of half a league from the sea as far as 
opposite to Willaj-oki, and from thence further inland ; so 
that from the sea-side, and opposite to Rohel, there shall 
be a distance oi about three-quarters of a league, in a di- 
rect line, to the road which leads from AVibourg to Lap- 
strand, at three leagues distance from Wibourg, and which 
proceeds the same distance of three Ungues towards the 
north by 'sVibourg, in a direct line to the former limits 
between Russia and Sweden, even before the redaction oi 
the district of Kexholm under the government of the king 
of Sweden. Those ancient limits extend eight leagues 
towards the north, from theiice they run in a direct line 
through the district of Kexholm, to the place wherethe har- 
bour of Porogerai, which begins near the town of Kuduma- 
gube, joins to the ancient limits, between Prussia and Swe- 
den, so that his majesty the king and kingdom of Sweden, 
shall henceforth possess all that pan lying west and north 
beyond the above specified limits, and his czarish majesty 
and the empire of Russia all that part which is situated 
east and south of the said limits. And ai his czarish ma- 
jesty surrendtrs from henceforth tn his Sweiii^h majesty 
and the kingdom of Sweden, a part of the district of Kes- 
holna, which belonged heretofore to the empire of Russia, 
he promises, in the most solemn manner, in regard to 
himself and successors to the throne of Russia, that he never 
will make any future claim to this said district of Kex- 
holm, on any account whaterer ; but the said district shall 
hereafter be and remain incorporated into the kingdomof 
Sweden. As to the limits in the country of Lamparque, 
they shall remain on the same footing as thej- were before 
the beginning of this war between the two empires. It 
is nirther agreed upon, that comtrissaries shall be ap- 


pointed by each party, immediately after the ratificBtion 
of this treaty to regulate the limits as aforesaid. 

Art. 9. Ills czarish majesty further promises to main- 
tain all the inhabitants of the provinces of Livonia, Ea- 
tbonia, and Oesel, as well nobles as plebeians, and the 
town«, magistrates, companits, and trades, in the full en- 
joyment of the said privileges, customs and prerogatives, 
which they have enjoyed under the dominion of his Swe. 
dish majesty. 

Art. 10. There shall not hereafter be anj' violence of- 
fered to the consciences of the inhabitants of the ceded 
countries ; on the contrarj', his czarish majesty engages 
on his side to preserve and maintain the evangelical (Lq- 
theran) religion on the same footing as under the Swedish 
government, provided there is likewise a free liberty of 
conscience allowed to those of the Greek religion. 

Art. 11. In regard to the reductions and liquidations 
made in the reign of the late king of Sweden in Livonia, 
Esthonia, and Oesel, to the great injury of the subject* 
and inhabitants ofthose countries, which, conformable to 
the justice of the affair in question, obliged his late ma- 
Jestj' the king of Sweden, of glorious memory, to promise, 
by an ordinance (which was published the 13th day of 
April, 1700, that if any one of his subjects could fairly 
prove, that the goods which had been confiscated were 
their property justice should be done them, wherebj* seve- 
ral subjects of the said countries have had such their con- 
fiscated efifects restored to them) his czarish majesty en- 
gages and promises, that justice shall be done to every 
person, whether residing or not, who has a jiust claim or 
pretension to any lands in Livonia, Esthonia, or the pro- 
vince of Oesel, and can make full proof thereof, and that 
such person shall be reinstated in the possession of his 
lands and effects. 

Art. 12 There shall likewise be immediate restitution 
made, conformable to the general amnesty regulated and 
agreed b3- the second article, to such of the inhabitants 
of Livonia, Esthonia, and the island of Oesel, who may 
during this war hare joined the king of Sweden, to- 
gether with all their efifects, lands, and bouses, which 
have been confiscated and given to others, as well in 
the towns of those provinces, as in those of Narva and Wi« 


bourg, notwitl«tanding they may have passed during the 
said war by inheritance or otherwise into other hands, with 
any exception or restraint, even though the proprietors 
Btiould be actually in Sweden, either as prisoners or other- 
wise; and such restitution shall take place so soon as each 
person is re-naturalized by his respective government, and 
produces his documents relating to his right ; on the other 
hand, these proprittors shall by no means laj- claim to, or 
pretend lo any part of, the revenues, which may have beea 
received bj- those who were in possession in consequence 
of the confiscation, nor to any other compensation for their 
losses in the war or otherwise. And all persons, who are 
thus put in repossession of their effects and lands, shall 
be obliged to do homage tohisczarish majestj', their pre- 
sent sovereign, and farther to behave themselves as faith- 
ful vassals and subjects; and when they hare taken the 
usual oath of allegiance, they shall be at liberty to leave 
their own country to go and live in any other, which isia 
alliance and friendship with the Russian empire, as also 
to enter into the service of neutral powers, or to continue 
therein, if already engaged, as they shall think proper. 
On the other hand, in regard to those, who do not choose 
to do homage to his czarish majesty, they shall be allowed 
the space of three years from the publication of the peace, 
to sell or dispose of their effects, lands, and all belonging 
to them, to the best advantage, without paying any more 
than is paid by everj- other person, agreeably to the laws 
and statutes of the country. And if hereafter, it should 
happen that an inheritance should devolve to any person 
according to thelaws of the country, and that such person 
shall not as yet have taken the oath of allegiance to his 
czarish maj-^sty, he shall in such case be obliged to take 
the same at the time of entering on the possession of his 
inheritance, otherwise to sell off all his effects in the space 
of one year. 

Also tho*:e who have advanced money on lands in Livo- 
nia, Esihonia, and the island of Oesel, and have lawful se- 
curity for the same, shall enjoy their mortgages peaceably, 
nntil both capital and interest are discharged ; on the 
othe» hand, the mortgages shall not claim any interest, 
wKch expired during the war, and which have not been 
>l«liiaiid«^ or paid; but those who in either of these cases 


have the ailministr;ition of the said effects, shall be obliged 
to do homage to his czarish majesty-. This likewise ex 
tends to all those who remain in his czarish majestj-'s do- 
minions, and who shall have the same liberty to dispose 
of their effects in Sweden, and in those countries which 
have been surrendered to that crown by this peace. 
Moreover, the subjects of each of the reconciled powers 
shall be mutually supported in all their lawful claims 
and demands, whether on the public, or on individuals 
within the dominions of the two powers, and immediate 
justice shall be done them, so that every person may 
be reinstated in the possession of what justly belongs to 

Art. 13. All contributions in money shall from the sign- 
ing of this treaty cease in the grand duchj' of Finland, 
which his czarish majesty by the fifth article of this treaty 
cedes to his Swedish majesty and the ivinf.;dom of Sweden ; 
on the otlier hand the duchy of Finland shall furnish his 
czarish majesty's troops with the necessary provisions and 
forage gratis, until thej* shall have entirely evacuated the 
said duchy, on the said footing as has been practised here- 
tofore ; and his czarish majesty shall prohibit and forbid, 
nnder the severest penalties, tlie dislodging any ministers 
or peasants of the Finnish nation, contrarj' to their incli- 
nations, or that the least injury be done to them. In con- 
sideration ofwiiich, and as it will be permitted his cTiarish 
majesty, upon evacuating the said countries and towns, to 
take with him his great and small cannon, wiin their car 
riages and other appurtenances, and the magazines and 
other warlike stores which he shall think fit. The inha- 
bitants shall furnish a sufficient number of horse and wag- 
gons OS far as tlie frontiers; and also, if the whole of this 
cannot be executed according to the stipulated terms, and 
that any part of such artillcrj*, &c. is necessitated to be 
left behind, then, and in such cases, that which is so left 
•hall be properly taken care of, and afterwards delivered 
to his czarish majesty's deputies, whenever it shall be 
agreeable to them, and likewise be transported to the fron- 
tiers in manner as above. If his czarish majesty's troops 
■hall havefound and sent oi>! of the country any deeds or 
papers belonging to tlie grand duchy of Finland, strict 
eearch shall bem3dcfor the sirae.and all of them tliatcaa 


be founij shall oe faithfully restored to deputies of hia 
Swedish majesty. 

Art. 14. All the prisoners on each side, of whatsoever 
nation, rank, and condition, shall be set at liberty imme- 
diately after the ratification of this treaty, without any 
ransom, at the same time eyery prisoner shall either pay or 
give sufficient security for the payment of all debts by 
them coatracted. The prisoners on each side shall be fur- 
nished with the necessary horses and waggons gratis dnr- 
ing the time allotted for their return home, in proportion 
to the distance from the frontiers. In regard to such pri. 
Mners, who shall have sided with one or the other party, 
or who shall choose to settle in the dominions of either cf 
the two powers, they shall have full liberty goto do with- 
out restriction : and this liberty shall likewise extend to 
all those who have been compelled to serve either party 
during the war, who may in like manner remain where 
they are, or return home ; except such who have volunta- 
rily embraced the Greek religion, in compliance to his 
czarish majesty; for which purpose each party shall order 
that the edicts be published and made known ia their re- 
spective dominions. 

Art. 15. His majesty the king, and the republic of Po- 
land, as allies to his czarish majesty, are expressly com- 
prehended in this tr«aty of peace, and have equal right 
thereto, as if the treaty of peace between them andthe crown 
of Sweden had been inserted here at full length: to which 
purpose all hostilities whatsoever shaU cease m general 
throusrhout all the kingdoms, countries, and patrimonies 
beloacingto the two reconciled parties, whether situated 
within or out of the Roman empire, and there shall be a 
solid acd lasting peace established between the two afore- 
said powers. And as no plenipotentiary on the part of 
his Polish majesty and the republic of Poland has assisted 
at this treaty of peace, held at Nystadt, and that conse- 
quently they could not at one and the same time renew 
the peace by a solemn treaty between his majesty' the king 
of Poland and tke crown of Sweden, his majesty the king 
of Sweden does therefore engage and promise, that he will 
send plenipotentiaries to open the conferences, so soon as 
a place shall be appointed for the said meeting, in 
order to conclude, through the mediation of his cxarsh 


maietty.a laslinj; peace between the two crowns, pro- 
vided nothing is therein contained which may be pre- 
judicial to the treaty of perpetual peace made witli his 
czarish majesty. 

Art, 16. A free trade shall be regulated and established 
as soon as possible, which shall subsist both by sea and 
laud between the two powers, their dominions, subjects, 
an J !riJi-3ibitant8,by meansof a separate treaty on this head, 
to the qood and advantage of their respective dominions ; 
and in the mean time the subjects of Russia and Sweden 
■hall have leave totrade freely in the empire of Russia and 
kingdom of Sweden, so soon as the treaty of peace is ra- 
tided, at'ter paj'ing the us lal duties on the several kinds 
of merchandise; so that the subjects of Russia and 
Sweden sliall reciprocally enjoy the same privileges and 
prerogatives as are enjoyed by the closest friends of either 
of the said states. 

Art. 17. Restitution shall be made on both sides, after 
the ratiticatio;i of the peace, not onh- of the magazines 
which ^^•e^e before the commencement of the war esta- 
blished iii certain trading towns belongitjg to the two 
powers, but also liberty shall be reciprocally granted to the 
subjects of his czarish majesty and ihe king of Sweden to 
establish magazines in the towns, harbours, and other 
places subject to both or either of the said powers. 

Art. 18. If any Swedish ships of war or msrchant ves- 
sels shall have the misfortune te be wrecked, or cast away 
by stress of weather, or any other accident, on the coasts 
and harbours of Russia, his czarish majesty's subjects 
shall be obliged to give them all aid and assistance in 
their power to save their rigging and efTects, and faith- 
fullj' to restore whatever may be drove on shore, if de- 
manded, provided they are properly rewarded. And the 
subjects of his majest3- the king of Sweden shall do the 
same in regard to such Russian sliipsand efTects as may 
have the misfortune to be wrecked or otherwise lost on 
the coasts of Sweden ; for which purpose, and to prevent 
all ill treatment, robbing, and plundering, which com 
monly happens on such melancholy occasions, his czar- 
ish majesty and th« king of Sweden will cause a most ri- 
gorous prohibitioii tube issued, and all whoshall be found 
traDSgres'ing in tliis point shall be punished on the spot. 


Art. 19. And to piaveDt all possible cause or occasion 
oI'misunderstandiiiK between the two parties, in relatiot 
to sea affairs, they have concluded and determined, that 
finy Swedish ships of war, of whatever number or size, ihat 
shall hereafter pass by any of his czarish majesty's forts or 
castles, shall salute the same with their cannon, which 
compliment shall be directly returned in the same man- 
ner by the Russian fort or castle : and, vice versa, any 
Russian ships of war, of whatever number or size, that 
shall hereafter pass by any fort or castle belongicp to his 
Swedish majesty, shall salute the same with a discharge 
of their cannon, which compliment shall be instantly re- 
turned in the same manner by the Swedish fort ; and iu 
case any one or more Swedish and Russian ships shall meet 
atsea,orin any harbour or elsewhere, they shall sa'.uie each 
other with a common discharge, as is usually practised on 
•uch occasions between th-- ships of Sweden and Denmark. 

Art. 20. It is mutually agreed between the two powers, 
no longer to defray the expenses of the ministers of the 
two powers, as have been done hitherto ; but their repre- 
sentative ministers, plenipotentiaries, and envoys, shall 
hereafter defray their own expenses and those of their 
own attendants, as well on their journey as during their 
stay, and back to their respective place of residence. On 
the other hand, either of the two parties, on receiving 
timely notice of the arrival of an envoy, shall order that 
their subjects give them all the assistance that may be 
necessary to escort them safe on their journey. 

Art 21. Ilis majesty the king of Sweden does on his 
part comprehend his majestj- i\e king of Great Britain 
in this treaty of peace, reserving only the differences sub- 
sisting between their czarish and his Britannic majesties, 
which they shall immediately endeavour to terminate iu 
a friendly manner ; and such other powers, who shall be 
named by the two reconciled parties within the space of 
three months, shall likewise be included in this treaty of 

Art. 22. In case any misunderstanding shall hereafter 
arise between the states and subjects of Sweden and Rns- 
sia, it shall by no means prejudice this treaty of perpetual 
peace ; which shall nevertheless always be and remain m 
fall foro^ agreeable to its intent, and commissaries sbal 


without delay be appointed on each side to inquire into and 
•dJDBt all diBputes. 

Art. 23. All those who have been guilty of high trea- 
son, murder, theft, and other crimes, and those who de- 
serted from Sweden to Russia, and from Russia to Sweden, 
either singly or with their wives and children, shall be 
immediately sent back, provided the complaining party of 
the country from whence they made their escape, shall 
think fit to recal them, let them be of what nation soever, 
and in the same condition as they were at their arrival, 
together with their wives and children, as likewise with 
all they had stolen, plundered, or taken away with them 
in their flight. 

Art. 24. The exchange of the ratification of this treaty 
of peace, shall be reciprocally made at Nystadt within 
the space of three weeks, after the daj' of sig ->ing the same, 
or sooner, if possible. In witness whereof, two copies of 
this treaty, ekactlj' corresponding with each other, have 
been drawn up, and confirmed by the plenipotentiary mi- 
nisters on each side, in virtue of the authority tliey have 
received from their respective sovereign.s ; which copies 
they ha^e signed with their own hands, and sealed with 
their own seals. Done at Nystadt. this 30tli day of Au- 
gust m the y«>ar of our Lord 1721. O. S. 

Jean I.iliensted. 

Otto Reinhold Stroemfeld. 

Jacob Daniel Bruce. 

Henry-John-Frederic Ostermau. 

Ordinanct of the Emperor Peter I. for the crowning 
of the Empress Catherine. 

We, Peter the First, emperor and autocrator of all the Ruv 
6>as, &c. to all our oflScers ecclesiastical, civil, and mili- 
tary, and all others of the Russian nation, our faithful 

No one can be ignorant that it has been a constant and 
invariable custom amoni; the monarchs of all Christian 
states, to caitsf their consorts to be crownerl.and thnttbs 
same is a» present practised, and hatb fieqviently been in 
&jrmer times by those emferon who proftssed the holy 


faith of the Greek charch ; to wit, by the emperor Ba?U 
Ijdes, who caused his wife Zenobia to be crowned ; the 
emperor Justinian, his wife Lucipina; the emperor Hera- 
cliua, his wife Martina : the emperor Leo, the philosopher, 
his wife Mary ; aod many others, who have in like man- 
ner placed the imperial crown on the head of taeir con- 
sorts, and whom it would be too tedious here to enumerate. 
It is also well known to every one how much we have 
exposed our person, and faced the greatest dangers, fol 
the good of our country during the one and twenty years' 
course of the late war, which we have by the assistance 
of God terminated in so honsurable and advantageous a 
manner, that Russia hath never beheld such a peace, nor 
ever acquired so great glory as in the late war. Now 
the empress Catherine, our dearly beloved wife, having 
greatly comforted and assisted us during the said war, and 
also m several other our expeditious, wherein she volun- 
tarily and cheerfully accompanied us, assisting us with her 
counsel and advice in every exigence, notwithstanding the 
weakness of her sex, particularly in the battle against the 
Tuiks, on the hanks of the river Pruth, wherein our army 
was reduced to twenty thousand men, while that cf the 
Turks amounted to two hundred and seventy thousand, 
and on which desperate occasion she sismalized herself in 
a particular manner, by a courage and presence of mind 
superior to her sex, which is well known to all our army, 
and to the whole Russian empire: therefore, for these rea- 
sons^ and in virtue of the power which God has given us, 
we have resolved to hoaour our said consort Cath^rina 
with the imperial crown, as a reward for her painful ser- 
vices ; and we propose, God willing, that this ceremony 
stall be peiformed the ensuing winter at >loacow. And 
we do hereby give notice of this our resolution to all 
who are faithful subjects, in favour of whom our iscyi- 
tial affection ii unalterable. 

B 000 

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